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What my musings are all about...

Blogging might well be the 21st century's form of journaling. As a writing teacher, I have always advised my students to keep a daily journal as a way of organizing their thoughts for future writing projects, a discipline I have unfortunately never consistently practiced myself. By blogging, I might finally be able to follow my own good advice.

The difference between journaling and blogging is that the blogger opens his or her writing to the public, something journal- writers are usually reluctant to do. I am not so reticent.

The trick for me will be to avoid cluttering the internet with more blather, something none of us need more of. If I stick to subjects I know: sports and literature, I believe I can avoid that pitfall. I can't promise that I'll not stray from time to time to comment on ancillary subjects, but I will make every attempt to be interesting and perhaps even insightful.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Something's Wrong

    Something is Wrong when the average annual salary of top university football coaches is $925,000, with incentives, while the colleges' most prestigious professors do not earn a third of that amount. Some football coaches' contracts fall into the category of the obscene. For example, the University of Iowa pays Coach Kirk Ferentz 4.6 million dollars a year. I attended graduate school at the University of Iowa and would not begrudge the Hawkeyes a winning football program, but half of Ferentz' salary would help support hundreds of deserving graduate students in their difficult quest to earn degrees. That would leave Coach Ferentz a paltry 2.3 million dollars to buy whatever he can buy for that amount, possibly a second Hummer.

    Something is Wrong when the highest paid member of the University of California, Berkeley, faculty is Ted Tedford, the football coach, who is paid more than John Clark, physicist and Professor of Experimental Physics, Fellow of the Royal Society and a significant contributor to the field of superconductivity.

    Something is Wrong when the University of California is paying Ted Tedford more than the combined salaries of law professor Alan Dershowitz, and Poet Laureate of the United States, Robert Hass.

    Something is Wrong when Central Florida University pays their football coach, George O'Leary an additional $50,000 per year if none of his players are arrested, indicted, or convicted of a crime. Are they kidding? For that kind of money I'd have bed-check every night of the year.

    Something is Wrong when bonuses are paid to football coaches if 60% of their players graduate. Hmm, I thought graduation was the purpose of going to college. OK, color me naive. 

   Something is Wrong when the University of California has enough money to build a state-of-the-art football stadium and athletic facility, but doesn't have enough money to support its minor sports, concomitantly raising student tuition by 32%. Are students so jaded that they take this crap lying down?  Where are the protesters? Didn't a fellow named Mario Savio attend UC Berekely?

   Something is Wrong when Florida State University paid their football coach Bobby Bowden $250,000 in recognition of his 30th season. I wonder how much my colleague, one of the most revered and successful English teachers in Reno's public schools, got when she retired after 30 years of teaching? A certificate of appreciation, if I remember correctly.

    Something is Wrong when football coaches are paid longevity bonuses, euphemistically called "continuation incentives" running anywhere from $400,000 to 3 million. Shouldn't some bonuses be paid to nurses around the country who've worked their tails off for thirty years for the same hospital? Maybe all the people nurses have helped and comforted over the years should form an Alumni Association.

    Something is Wrong when the Governor of the State of Kentucky takes 3 billion in federal stimulus money, then allows the University of Kentucky, a public institution, to hire John Calipari as its basketball coach for an 8 year, 31.65 million dollar contract. (That's 4 million a year, folks.) At the same time the trustees of that university voted to cut 15 staff members, eliminate 170 jobs, and hike student tuition 5%.

    Something is Wrong when Billy Donovan, the University of Florida's basketball coach makes 3.5 million dollars, Bill Self of Kansas 3 million, Roy Williams of the Tarheels, 2.11 million, while the President of the United States makes $400,000. OK, I didn't include Mike Krzyzewski at 1.2 million which proves absolutely nothing except that I'm crazy about Coach K's coaching. Besides, anybody who looks like a mad ferret when he's angry has to be cut a little slack. The next time Coach K negotiates a new contract, he needs to ask for one dollar more than Coach Calipari, the way Bill Russell did after he heard what Wilt Chamberlain had signed for.

   Something is Wrong when perks for major university coaches include the following: personal use of jets; low-interest home loans; land deals, millions in annuities; pricey luxury suites at school stadiums; use of vacation homes; and family travel accounts.

   Something is Wrong when the University of Texas that brought in $46.2 million in 2006-7 for sports, and contributed a paltry 4.7 million to academics. That leaves 41.5 million heading to ... supporting minor sports, they argue. Why does the Pinocchio story come to mind?

    Something is Wrong and Shameful. If it isn't, I'd like to know why not. I welcome your comments.

    On the lighter side, here's a terrific little poem about golf, the only sport where sweating is not allowed.

One Down    By Richard Armour

Weight distributed,
   Free from strain,
Divot replaced,
   Familiar terrain,
Straight left arm,
   Unmoving head -
Here lies the golfer,
   Cold and dead.


mskeels64 said...

While I admit that coaches' salaries seem to be askew, what you have to recognize is that they are the only people being highly paid in a huge revenue-producing enterprise. By NCAA rules, the players play for free, but consider the really something-is-wrong-here money that at least some of them will make upon departure for the pros. Coaches have a legitimate desire and "right" to be paid on a level that approaches coaches in the pros. After all, a faculty member at a university who is a science researcher should be paid on an equivalent basis with his/her counterpart in private industry.

No, what you have here is the intersection of show business and academia, quite a little bastard child. Coaches are paid as entertainers (people in the movie industry, especially) are paid. After all, a coach has to cast (recruit), rehearse (practice), and perform (game day) before more people on national TV than most Hollywood directors will ever reach. So, don't be surprised when coaches’ salaries are comparable.

Jon said...

Berkeley students haven't really cared about social justice in a long time. It's too expensive to care--the days of it being an affordable public school are long past.