At first, I was shocked to hear that Urban Meyer, the head football coach of the Florida ‘Gators, has a new contract which will pay him 24 million bucks over the next six years: 4 million bucks a year. I know that’s chump-change to the professional practitioners of the sport of football, where the highest-paid NFL coach (Mike Holmgren) makes twice as much as Meyer.
Guys like Ben Roethlisberger make 27 million in a good year.
Meyer’s deal is interesting, because it doesn’t appear he was in no way about to “jump ship” from the ‘Gators. He had a good year, to say the least, and they rewarded him. But let’s not get sidetracked on stuff like “exceptional performance bonuses”, or whatever they decided to call them at the UW. Bret Bielema makes about a million and a half a year.
So who IS the highest-paid college football coach? That would be Pete Carroll at Southern Cal, who commands an annual paycheck of 4.4 million bucks. Closer to Meyer’s stomping grounds, Coach Nick Saban at ‘bama is paid 3.9 million a year, and Les Miles over in Baton Rouge is paid 3.75 million a year by LSU. (Geaux Tigers!)
So, when I did a few minutes worth of internet searching to find the information above, I wasn’t really “shocked” any more about Meyer’s new deal. I also learned, in my few minutes doodling around on the internet, that if you want to make REAL money coaching, get a job in the NBA. Phil Jackson makes 10.3 million a year in LA, which is also where the highest-paid baseball coach works: Joe Torre pulls down 4.3 million a year as skipper of the Dodgers.
I think really, particularly in Madison, the group which fares worse of all in collegiate athletics is the students. Just a few days ago there was a story about how the UW Marching Band parents are miffed because they’re being shuffled around Camp Randall again. And a couple days later, there was a story about student tickets for Badger men’s hoops games this coming season will be sold only in half-season packages.
Of course, the way the folks on Monroe Street spun THAT, was to say twice as many students would be “eligible” to buy tickets. The Kohl Center holds 17,190 in basketball configuration, and they’ve “generously” set aside 2,100 seats for the students. Wow, a whole 12 percent. By the way, never mind that back in 2005 the students rejected a proposed half-season package idea from the Athletic Department.
But, who knows - maybe some day in the mythical future, one of those students who was lucky enough to win the Athletic Department’s seat lottery selection process will go on to be hugely successful in life, or inherit a thriving business, and will build alma mater a new palace for the jocks to frolic.
Or buy a U-S Senate seat.