Dwight Watt Internet Article #13

#13 - Coaches and colleges 11/30/1998

#13 - Coaches and colleges

Once again the college season is here. Not the bowl season or the basketball season and not even the hockey season, but the coach hiring and firing season. When you look around at what is happening in this season a number of questions come to mind. Ones that have caught my attention recently are: 1. What is the business of colleges and universities? 2. Where is all that money coming from? 3. Is a coach really worth $500,000 or more per year to educate humans? And 3. How important is a college degree?

What is the business of colleges and universities? Good question. It seems when we read articles today that it is to make sure that they have a successful football team and basketball teams. They hire and fire coaches for these with regularity and pay them salaries way beyond anything any faculty member dreams of making. I thought colleges and universities existed to educate people and to perform pure research to advance the human race. I guess I was wrong as I have always believed if you look at a person's checkbook you can tell their basic beliefs. If we look at many of these major colleges and universities the checkbook appears to be that they think they are major league basketball and football teams.

Where is this money coming from? We know part of it comes from the boosters through their booster clubs, but also tax money is being used in many cases to pay these salaries. The third area is through equipment and supplier endorsements which means the institution is no longer objective but sold out to some company. Some people would state it harsher by saying the institutions have prostituted themselves to these companies. And to satisfy the companies the institutions find themselves just like the prostitutes having to be more extravagant to keep the money coming.

Is a coach really worth $500,000 or more per year to educate people? Obviously the answer is no or we would find schools every where paying their instructors these sums. (Personal note: I do not make anywhere this kind of money, but if you know an opportunity for me, please let me know quickly so I can get to the front of the line). We are paying them to bring in these players to perform and that they make sure they outperform the other schools. I have real doubts on what motivation there is for some one who has made this type salary for several years. If they did not burn the money, they have got to be starting to accumulate it after several years. I just can not see how to spend this type money for more that several years legally. I think we need to all rethink the priorities and salary ranges here. We regularly read about the difference in the janitor's pay and the CEO's pay and that range is too big, but it is nothing compared to the fan and the professional athletic.

Lastly how important is a college degree? The colleges and universities require their teachers to have at least a bachelors degree and normally they require a masters or doctorate degree. They also always are claiming that they are offering these young people an opportunity to get an education via their athletic scholarship. Yet, I discover that having a college degree is not a requirement to coach in college. The University of Houston has hired Clyde Drexler as their new basketball coach at over a $100,000 per year. He does not have a college degree. They say that he is encouraged in his contract to get his degree. Yet when he signs a player, the student is required to work toward his degree to get his scholarship. I think the NCAA and the accrediting agencies should put a stop to this. Require that the coaches, just like the accrediting agencies require the faculty, have to have a college degree. What the University of Houston is telling their players is that a college education is not important, just playing ball. And we wonder why so many athletes get in trouble with the law and do not know how to treat their fellow humans.

Now for the disclaimer. As many of you know I have held season tickets to Georgia Southern University football for many years. I make contributions to the booster clubs at Winthrop University and Georgia Southern University. I enjoy watching a college ball game. However I also support the educational side also of Winthrop University, the University of Georgia and Athens Area Technical Institute.


Congratulations to Georgia Southern University for having the the #1 NCAA I-AA football team in the nation for the first time in over 7 years!!!


This is part of a series of little articles I am doing across the Internet. I plan to write several times a month on a variety of subjects. It may be religious at times, political at times, and at other times just my reactions on something happening out there. It will often be like an op-ed article. If I do what I intend, you will at times want to shout I agree, other times you will want to say Dwight has really lost it now, but most importantly I want to challenge you to think. Feel free to forward this to others. If you don't want to get this e-mail let me know. Feel free to use what you read from me, but I request you give me credit and send a tear sheet. Thanks.

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Dwight Watt
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