Coaches are CEOs

Thursday, December 4, 2003

Columbia Daily Tribune

At a mere half-million dollars, University of Missouri football Coach Gary Pinkel is the lowest-paid in the Big 12. Pleased with the team's progress, Athletic Director Mike Alden and his unnoticed superiors who no doubt had to approve the deal are giving the coach a new contract worth more than a million dollars a year.

The contract extends through the 2008 season. Pinkel says he is committed to a coaching career at MU.

Many observers will think this is excessive. Pinkel's pay -- and that of basketball coach Quin Snyder -- far exceeds the money paid to the university president, campus chancellors, the governor of Missouri or, for that matter, the president of the United States.

Today's big-time football and basketball mentors are as much CEO as coach, hired by chancellors and ADs as much to keep athletic departments in the black as to win games.

As long as we fans remain fixated on sports, willing to pay ever higher ticket prices and swell television audiences, we are providing the economic underpinning for million-dollar coaches' salaries.

Too bad no such support group exists for history or math. The mere thought is idle.

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