Tuesday, November 10, 2009

UT Football Salaries Vs. Academic Cuts

A report in the USA Today - which is often to newspapers what Highlights magazine is to homework - has a story tracking the ever expanding salaries for athletic programs at the expense of academics. One of the schools mentioned is the University of Tennessee --

USA TODAY's first comprehensive look at the salaries of assistant coaches finds many approaching and even exceeding presidents' compensation and most eclipsing that of full professors. At the top: The $1.2 million Tennessee is paying defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, an NFL veteran who returned to college football to work for his son, head coach Lane Kiffin.


"At least 66 football assistants, including more than two dozen in the Southeastern Conference, make $300,000 or more, and USA TODAY found that perks once reserved for head coaches are commonplace: multiyear and rollover deals, supplemental income from TV and radio, performance bonuses, retention bonuses, cars, complimentary tickets and country club memberships.

Tennessee's nine assistants earn an average of more than $369,000; Texas' better than $327,000."


"Of the 60-plus assistants USA TODAY found making $300,000 or more this season, 29 are in the SEC and 15 in the Big 12. Tennessee became a pacesetter, handing its head coaching job to Lane Kiffin, who in turn recruited a who's who staff of assistants and paid them accordingly.

"I really think you have to spend money to make money," the younger Kiffin says. "When you go out, get those coaches, that's going to translate into recruiting, winning, ticket sales, your team doing better, (and) I don't think you ever ask those questions again."

He cites Alabama's rise under Nick Saban, who is making $3.9 million this year. "When he was hired ... every article was, 'I can't believe how much we paid Nick Saban at Alabama,' " Kiffin says. "Well, guess what? Nobody writes about it anymore because they win. So when we start winning, nobody is going to write about how much we pay our assistant coaches because, in turn, we're going to make a lot more money by them being there. I don't think it's a big deal."

He smiles. "And I took a lot less so we'd have money for them."

Meanwhile, the cash-strapped UT system warily eyes the expiration of federal stimulus money and the prospect of trimming 500 jobs in two years, two-thirds of them on its Knoxville campus. Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen, chairman of the system's board of trustees, expressed discomfort earlier this year, telling the Associated Press, "When your neighbor's enduring hard times is not the time to flash your Cadillac in the driveway."

The Volunteers athletics department is one of the few able to give its university a financial lift, contributing $10.35 million to the school and university system in September and pledging an additional $1 million a year for the next 15 years.

Still, budget figures show that while athletics salaries and benefits are expected to rise 12% this year, the money Tennessee will spend on academic salaries is projected to fall (from $127.68 million in 2008-09 to $127.18 million)."

See Also:
Michael Silence's take on winning and losing seasons at the Big Orange.

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