Coaches vs. Professors (Salaries)

Due to the rough economy, Texas Tech University froze $3 million in faculty salary for the year 2011, and naturally, it is the perfect time for its administration to raise the salary of Tommy Tuberville, the head football coach, by 1/6th of that amount, guaranteeing him at least $2 million a year till the year 2015.

For the record, Texas Tech’s football went 8-5 last year.

But who knows? Maybe the man’s family is starving with his measly $1.5 million salary from last year. Don’t worry though, both Coach Tuberville and the athletic director declined to comment when inquired by the press.

The university president Bailey says he is “sympathetic,” but they are keeping a promise they made last year (what a man of his word! but don’t they have contracts for professors to honor as well?).

To expand more on the topic, here’s an interesting video featuring Coach Calhoun, the head basketball coach of the University of Connecticut, if you haven’t seen it yet:

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He did bring up a good point though: the UConn basketball program does bring in lots of revenue and I’m sure, good images for the university. But should an academic institution really decide that an athletic program is worth more for the university? What message does that send to its students? Who gets to decide that? I’m not a big fan of picking quality of instructions on the field over quality of instructions in classrooms. Besides, who is it to say that a presentation made by a professor in an academia conference is less important than a win on a football field, and how do you measure that? Yes, athletic programs generate much more money for the university, but a university is not a for-profit, and I’m sure the majority of the profit generated doesn’t go to academic programs but stay in the athletic departments.

So should the university honor Tuberville’s contract? Is it unethical for Tuberville to accept the raise? Should we really take this kind of utilitarianism approach when it comes to deciding where funding goes in a university?

Here are two links that have some stats about average college professor and football coach salaries.

P.S. For those wondering what my “sports loyalty bias” is, I am a die-hard Duke and Auburn fan (my school and my hometown), who I am happy and proud to say are the reigning champions in men’s basketball and football. I know I have some questions to answer as well, and I am very well aware of the fact that Tommy Tuberville coached my beloved Auburn football team just three years ago.