Friday, November 07, 2008

Why are college coaches paid so much?

A recent article about Mike Leach and Texas Tech. People are concerned he will leave for greener pastures because he has only 1 year left on his contract at $1.75 million. I'm sure there is a natural impulse for everyone to seek more money when possible. But, really, what can you do with all that money in Lubbock, Texas? There is a limit to how much home you can buy. Looking around zillow, the most expensive place I could find was just under a million dollars. You could easily buy that in cash, with one-years after-tax salary - and still have enough money to live on comfortably. Sure a coach's job may be in jeopardy. But, I'm sure many workers would love to have a 5 year guaranteed job, with a $500,000 severance package.

With bankers in New York, at least there are plenty of amenities to suck money away (uber-expensive real estate, posh private schools, exclusive clubs, charities, and more.) But in Lubbock? Or College Station? or Bloomington? There are just so many cars, electronics and whatnot you can buy before you make a total fool of yourself. Maybe a few vacation condos? Again, its probably not near enough to hang with the super rich, but way to much for anyone in a college town. (Don't confuse Manhattan, Kansas with Manhattan, New York.) The college coach is often the most famous person in town. I guess it just seems logical to make sure his paw dwarfs everyone else.

Stanford, is, ironically, one of the few schools that could justify a large salary. After all, the low-end in Palo Alto exceeds the high end in most any place else. Just to provide a comparable standard of living, Stanford would have to pony up a lot. Only they don't do it, and tend to be in the low end of the salary range. And even with the large pay, they would still play second fiddle to many other big name CEOs, sports stars and other celebrities. I guess having the "farm" in a city does have its benefits.

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