Should coaches make more than your governor?

By Ethan Moore, page editor.

It is no secret that coaches in professional and collegiate sports make more than they probably should. Sure, it is great to reward them for working their way up the ladder and reaching the elitist portion of the profession; however, should they be making seven figures?

According to a recent study conducted by ESPN, of the 50 states in the United States, the highest-paid public employee of 40 of the states is a college coach in either football or basketball. Technically, coaches at universities are public employees, such as government officials or teachers, and so their pay is compared on similar scales.

Even in our own state of Michigan, Jim Harbaugh’s 9 million dollar annual salary dwarfs that of our governor, Rick Snyder, by over 56 times. Obviously, this is a direct result of the money that is generated from college athletics, and less about the salaries of other public employees. Still, it is concerning to see such discrepancies like this.

So, is it right to pay coaches this much money? Well, even if we just look at it through the context of other US public employees, the answer is probably no. Do coaches really deserve more money than our college professors? What happened to our culture that we now believe it is worth more to us to pay glorified parents who teach kids how to throw and catch better, as opposed to trained teachers with degrees and an exponentially greater impact on this generation of American youth? I am not saying we need to start shelling out millions for teachers, so maybe we need to work on how much we are paying these coaches.

Even bad coaches are getting paid a crap ton of money to do a job that does not require this kind of compensation. The football coach at the University of Kansas is making over $800,000, and Kansas has won two games in the past two seasons combined, and both wins came last year. The former coach at the University of Minnesota is making $1.4 million this coming year, and he is not even coaching this season. Why are we giving so much security to coaches who are not even exceptional, yet our schools cannot even afford to give tenure to some of their best professors? It feels like we have it all backward.

I love sports as much as anybody, however, the premium price we pay for individuals such as coaches leaves a bad taste in my mouth, because these people just do not matter enough to earn those kinds of wages. We are telling the best and brightest minds of today‚Äôs youth that if they really want to succeed and make money, they should go into sports coaching as opposed to professions that actually matter, like teaching or even work in the government. Congratulations to Jim Harbaugh for getting his, however I would sleep a lot better at night knowing my taxes were going to something else besides a college coach’s ego.

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