Who Pays the College Coach

Mark Yost has an article on the pay of college coaches in this morning’s Wall Street Journal, including a quote from yours truly written here at this blog awhile back.

Academic types have long lamented that coaches at many public universities make millions more than their schools’ professors and presidents, not to mention the governors of their states. That much is true. Mr. Saban’s eight-year contract will pay him $4 million a year — $5 million if he earns all his performance bonuses. That dwarfs the salary paid to Alabama President Robert Witt ($611,000) and Gov. Bob Riley ($105,000).

But there are two fundamental problems with unemployed professors comparing teaching and coaching salaries. The first is simple supply and demand. With all due respect to the many great teachers, it’s easier to replace them than Mr. Saban, Ohio State’s Jim Tressel or Penn State’s Joe Paterno (who makes a paltry $500,000 a year).

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“The talent that Saban, Tressel and other coaches have is relatively scarce,” Phil Miller, an assistant professor of economics at Minnesota State University, Mankato, wrote on The Sports Economist blog. “On the other hand, the talent it takes to teach effectively, for example, at the collegiate level is more abundant. So the price of coaching talent is much higher than the salary obtained by most professors.” Or, as legendary Ohio State football coach Woody Hayes once told an antisports prof: “I can do your job, but you can’t do mine.”

I’m actually an associate professor, but we’ll let that one slide 😉

Here’s the post to which Mark is referring.