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What's wrong when a college basketball coach makes more than the governor in a state?

Posted Friday, March 26, 2010, at 1:37 PM

Indiana is a basketball crazed state and heaven forbid we speak ill about any of the roundball Gods.

But something is wrong in a state when the basketball coach for the least successful college program over the last couple of years is the highest paid among more than 75,000 state employees.

The Indianapolis Star recently published its annual database for state employee salaries, and IU men's basketball coach Tom Crean topped the list for the second straight year with a yearly base salary of $600,000.

The Star pointed out that Crean's salary is nearly equal to the salary of seven regular IU faculty members.

What is wrong with the picture here?

Creen earned $60,000 for each of his 10 wins this past season -- and that doesn't include all of the other cash he takes in for endorsements and his TV show.

His two-year record at IU is 16 wins and 46 losses.

How can the university justify this salary when they are laying off instructors because of budget constraints?

Following Creen on the state pay list is Purdue University President France Cordova at $450,000, followed by IU President Michael McRobbie at $425,000.

New IU athletic director Fred Glass comes in at fourth with a salary of $410,000, which is more than the fifth highest paid state employee, Ball State University President Jo Ann Gora, who earned $356,400 in 2009.

The rest of the top 10 includes Ball State head football coach Stan Parrish ($350,000); Purdue management school Dean Richard Cosier ($344,500); IU business management Dean Dan R. Dalton ($336,000); IU Medical Center Chair of Pediatrics Dr. Richard Schreiner ($333,653); and IU business school Dean Dan Smith ($333,520).

Incidentally, the state's chief executive Gov. Mitch Daniels earns $95,000 a year -- significantly less than IU women's basketball coach Felica Legette-Jack ($240,000), Purdue men's basketball coach Matt Painter ($230,00), Purdue women's basketball coach Sharon Versyp ($230,000); Purdue head football coach Danny Hope ($220,000); and Purdue assistant football coach Gary Nord $205,000.

Among other top state government officials, Indiana Supreme Court Justices make $151,328 while State Court of Appeals Judges are listed at $147,109 a year; Indiana State Police Superintendent Paul Whitesell makes $130,683, National Guard Adjunct General Martin Umbarger earns $129,294.

Indiana State Police troopers, on average, make $49,280 and according to the Star, 4.5 percent of the 80,161 state employees listed in the database earn $100,000 or more as a base salary.

The bulk of the work force, 61.6 percent, makes less than $50,000.

Overall, the average state employee makes about $45,299 and the average Indiana teacher makes $49,569 (according to www.teachingjobsportal.com).

I know athletics is big bucks for all the universities, but we all need to come back to earth.

And the sad thing about it is, Creen is not among the top paid college coaches.

At least 25 of the 347 Division I college basketball coaches now strolling the sidelines earn $1 million or more annually, not including potential bonuses, according to a recent story in Forbes magazine.

Topping the list is Kentucky's John Calipari, who makes about $4 million a year -- not including his fringes.

Following Calipari on the list are Florida's Billy Donovan $3.3 million a year; Kansas's Bill Self $3 million a year; Ohio State's Thad Matta $2.5 million a year; and University of Louisville's Rick Pitino pulls down $2.25 million a year.

As you can see, athletics is big money. If you don't believe it, try buying an affordable ticket to any college basketball or football game.

In the big picture of things, I guess we shouldn't feel too sorry for any of these coaching guys when the referees occasionally give them the shaft with a bad call on the basketball court.

Nick is the assistant editor for the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached by telephone at 847-4487 or by e-mail at schneider.nick@gmail.com .


Comments
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Hi Nick,

I'm the Community Manager for the Masters of Arts in Teaching program at USC and we created the Teaching Jobs Portal site that you link to above. Thanks so much for citing those stats from our site... glad to know it's on your radar. If possible, can you please have a look at the actual hyperlink in the text? It appears that it's linking to an error page instead of teachingjobsportal.com. Many thanks in advance!

As for your article, it presents a really interesting topic that I've encountered a lot recently. We need to find a way to reward and compensate professionals based on performance and merit, especially teachers. If we don't find a way of doing this, then we'll lose some of our best talent and minds to occupations that are far less impactful on society.

Cheers,

Alexa | @uscteacher

-- Posted by mat@usc on Fri, May 28, 2010, at 2:38 AM

What I think is even more outrageous is paying $750,000 to a coach who broke NCAA rules not only at IU, but also at his previous employer, just to get rid of him. He should have been FIRED FOR CAUSE, without any compensation. Kelvin Sampson should NEVER have been hired at IU and should be banned from coaching basketball at the college level for life.

As for the other wages and salaries, I see paying teachers more than what they make because they have to put up with a lot of unruliness and with parents that expect them to mollycoddle little Johnny or Jane and give A's to kids who don't study or care. I don't see the pro athletes giving up their salaries anytime soon.

-- Posted by virginiagrace on Fri, Apr 2, 2010, at 11:40 PM

Big salaries always get people's attention. The sad fact that a baseball player, pro golfer, or coach earns 10 times that of a good heart surgeon is a testament to our own priorities. When ten times the people pay ten times the attention and money to anything, the salaries paid to top performers will follow. Likewise on the opposite end of the spectrum. Seen any big-buck professional LaCrosse players in this country? Didn't think so.

Rick Pitino is head of a basketball program that generated $16.6 Million in income last year at Louisville according to Forbes magazine (the most of all universities in America). IU pulls in somewhat less, but still a substantial sum from "basketball operations". It would be foolish for the school to hire some off-the-street coach to save $400K, and risk losing millions. On the other hand, if everyone suddenly lost interest in basketball, quit going to games and buying logo apparel, it would soon be common to find $20 per hour basketball coaches at universities. (Though not likely in this area.)

Compare top performers in any "job" with the average, and similar disparities appear - there are at least 1000 garage bands making $200 a weekend to every band with a major recording deal worth millions. There are over 500 high school coaches making teacher salaries for every Tom Crean or Rick Pitino. Welcome to the entertainment business.

-- Posted by Bendog on Mon, Mar 29, 2010, at 3:38 PM


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