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Coaches Salaries & Using Ohio State as an Example.

Ohio State Athletics Salaries from the Columbus Dispatch

Ohio State Athletics Salaries from the Columbus Dispatch

We all know that the discussion of salaries at major NCAA FBS institutions can keep us chatting in the hallways at work or in the classroom for hours. On April 13th, the Columbus Dispatch chronicled “A Decade of Growth” in Ohio State Athletics Salaries. Although, specific to Ohio State, the article reminds us of the tremendous growth over the past 10 years in salaries at the largest and most powerful athletics programs.

Part of me wants to praise Ohio State for supporting all of their coaches with good salaries. The job of being a coach at Ohio State or at any DI institution is not easy and most coaches are underpaid. I’m not talking about football and men’s basketball, but about the other 15-20 programs that DI schools sponsor. Remember, these are folks who place their livelihood in the hands of 17 year olds  during the recruiting process… please choose my school!  They are away from home a large portion of the year traveling with the team and recruiting. Even when they are in town, they are working crazy hours and dealing with everything from girlfriend/boyfriend problems their athletes are having to being a productive member of the athletic department and putting in hours of community service. So, that is the part of me that says, FINALLY – more coaches are being compensated fairly.

A quick side note is that some of the coaches on the Ohio State list are losing out because they have been at Ohio State so long and are so loyal to the program. For instance, Vince Panzano. $86,600 in 1998 (adjusted for inflation) and now… $71,100.  It is common at universities to attract new coaches by dangling big bucks in front of them, but what about these folks that have shown and proven their loyalty and been successful. Oh, by the way, here is an excerpt from Vince’s bio “In his 36 years of coaching, Panzano has produced one world champion, one junior world champion, two Olympic medalists, 22 U.S. diving champions, 12 NCAA champions, 16 NCAA runners-up, 54 Big Ten champions and 75 All-Americans. Panzano also has coached Ohio State and McDonald’s Diving to six national team titles. Panzano and Ohio State have had divers on five of the last six Olympic Teams.” As a former diver, I can comment that his salary is still one of the top in the country for diving coaches… but it doesn’t change the fact that he does not seem to have been rewarded proportional to other coaches.

THEN, there is the other part of me that looks at the football and men’s basketball salaries and cringes.

Anyway, even with the huge amounts of money that institutions such as Ohio State and Florida bring in every year there is a tremendous amount of money going out the door as well. As a result of this, other expenditures, and the general state of the economy, even Ohio State is feeling the pinch.

If you are interested in what is going on at other institutions, I highly recommend checking out the Ultimate Sports Insider Blog. Michael Cross, the brains behind the blog, has done a fantastic job keeping up with recent developments related to the economy and just general fiscal cuts within college athletics. At the time of this writing, he was on update #18.

A big of rambling in this post, sorry about that. Just some food for thought.

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April 14, 2009 - Posted by | Coaches and Coaching, College Sports Business, Finance, Uncategorized

1 Comment »

  1. I couldn’t agree more–but something can be done about coaches salaries in the revenue sports. The market can and should be changed through a government anti trust exemption so coaches salaries can at least be capped at $1 less than the AD or president or the power structure is completely in shambles and often times the coach rules the school–not the administration or academia.

    Coach Tressel–not any coach–deserves that much money for what they do and they certainly should not be paid more than their “bosses”–and let’s not forget these salary numbers are only scratching the surface, there is much more in bonuses, fringe benefits, and perks than one could imagine (free cars, houses, country club, performance incentives, etc.). He does not “earn” more money for OSU as most of any ROI is going to go to athletics and the arms race, not to furthering the institution. And before someone yells “front porch” and marketing arm–remember there is precious little research that supports that a successful athletic department brings in the gains we always seem to tout i.e. more money for academics, better and more applicants, more money for academics etc.–it simply does not happen, even at Ohio State this year and they were one of a handful (less than 10) that could even claim a profit.

    There is no market force I am aware of where middle management gets paid 10 times more than their supervisors. If the brakes are NOT put on soon through government intervention–we will have a 10 million dollar per year coach and continue to use the same tired excuses that they are “worth” it.

    Comment by B. David Ridpath | April 15, 2009 | Reply


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