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Kurt W. Rotthoff as new Contributor at The Sports Economist

2017 September 11
by Kurt Rotthoff

I am happy to join the great group of Sports Economists that post here at The Sports Economist. A day before I wrote my first post, someone had brought to my attention an interview I did in the San Francisco Chronicle titled “Do college football coaches earn their million-dollar keep?” from 2015. Given that the interview is two years old, I first wonder what I said; then I wonder (more importantly) if what I said then is what I would still say today.

Here is what I said:

“Imagine a booming business, but only the top 20 people make money — none of the other workers are allowed to get paid,” said Kurt Rotthoff, an associate professor of economics and finance at Seton Hall University. “These players are on the field performing and bringing the fans. But they’re not allowed to get paid while bringing in more and more money.

“That money has to go somewhere — and a lot of it ends up in the coaches’ pockets.”

Later in the article:

And that was before the Buckeyes and coach Urban Meyer ($4.5 million annually, sure to balloon) won the national title Monday night over Oregon. So are skyrocketing salaries — 11 coaches make at least $4 million annually — simply capitalism at full throttle? No way, Rotthoff argued.

“Any organization that disallows payments to people is not any form of capitalism,” said Rotthoff, the professor who specializes in the study of sports finances. “It’s the antithesis. In a capitalistic world, the players would negotiate their own salaries. It’s a regulated monopoly system.”

I am happy to say I would say the same thing today. Although I am excited about the start of another college football season, this issue still exists (and is getting larger as football generates more revenues).

I look forward to continuing to post on research in the field, topics of interest, and thoughts that will (hopefully) promote discussions in the comments.

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