My latest for TCS Daily, “Crimson with Envy: Why Nick Saban Makes More Than Your Kid’s Teacher,” is posted. It was sparked by the USA Today headline “Alabama: 45th in helping kids, No. 1 in paying coach” and other criticisms of the eight year, $32 million salary my alma mater paid to lure Saban away from the NFL’s Miami Dolphins.
While the juxtaposition of low performance in education with enormous spending on athletics at institutions of higher learning makes for great headlines, it is a ridiculous apples to oranges comparison. The money comes from different sources, based on entirely different market forces that are hardly zero sum.
Saban’s salary simply has no bearing whatever on what college presidents or CEOs are paid, much less how education is funded. His paycheck will come entirely from the University’s $68.6 million athletic budget, which is derived from ticket sales and licensing agreements rather than taxes.
If Saban is able to return the Crimson Tide to its former glory, he’ll more than pay for himself. Between July 1, 2005, and June 30, 2006, the football team alone brought in more than $44 million. Indeed, football at successful programs like Alabama’s not only pays for itself, it helps pay for all the other sports programs on campus and pours millions into the school’s academic scholarship funds.
More at the link.
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