Posted by: Coreyo34

In today’s Charlotte Observer, an editorial appears slamming the University of North C*rolina for the extraordinary amount of money that new head football coach Butch Davis will receive for his efforts.

He will earn an average of $1.86 million a year over seven years — not including bonuses and deferred compensation. Here’s how that shakes out: His salary will be $286,000 per year, plus $25,000 for expenses, plus at least $1 million a year in “supplemental” income that the contract states UNC will pay, along with generous bonuses.

There’s more. He’s expected to sign a $250,000-a-year media contract and a $150,000-a-year apparel contract. In addition, his contract’s retention and buyout clauses are so generous they required permission from the UNC Board of Governors to violate the rules.

That’s outrageous. That money has nothing to do with the primary missions of a public university: teaching, public service and research.

Don’t blame Mr. Davis. He’s an experienced coach, and he negotiated a great deal. Instead, blame the leadership at Chapel Hill — specifically the chancellor and board of trustees. Blame the UNC system Board of Governors, too, for going along. For the second time in three years that board has ignored its own sensible rules prohibiting excessive buyouts of coaching contracts. The first was in 2003, to hire Tar Heel basketball coach Roy Williams.

Why does this issue matter so much? Big-money college sports exploits young athletes. It wastes precious resources and nurtures impropriety (just look at Alabama). It also undermines public and political support for academic needs — which North Carolina can ill afford.

This final paragraph is the buttress upon which the paper’s argument relies.

Let’s analyze it one sentence at a time:

Big-money college sports exploits young athletes.

Whether or not this statement is accurate, “big-money college sports” are irrelevant to the Observer’s stance. That which is relevant is UNC’s athletic department, and whether or not its big-money college sports programs have exploited young athletes, and whether or not the pay of its head football coach will somehow exploit young athletes.

To my knowledge, there is little historical basis upon which to criticize UNC’s athletic department for exploitation of young athletes.

It wastes precious resources and nurtures impropriety (just look at Alabama)

Again, generalities are irrelevant. The Observer must consider UNC specifically because, much as some may lament to admit, UNC is an atypical public university, and in a very good way. Or rather, Alabama is not in the same atmosphere as UNC in any way, shape or form aside for the fact that both are land-grant universities in Southern states. Alabama has a long history of bending and breaking the rules with regards to football. UNC does not. So I pose the question once again: Can the Observer prove that a head coach’s pay will directly result in impropriety?

Absolutely not.

To the contrary, Butch Davis is widely credited for cleaning up a program that had been encumbered with impropriety–the University of Miami–and therefore, the large amount of money Bowles and Baddour have opted to grant him ought to be considered a wise investment in ensuring the future purity of the program.

It also undermines public and political support for academic needs — which North Carolina can ill afford.

The Observer makes this statement without any evidence to support it. That’s intellectually lazy.

Certainly, the dinosaurs in academe–and they’re not all dinosaurs, of course–will lament this move and compare Davis’ pay directly to that of a tenured professor. But that would be unwise and unfair and, largely, illogical.

Politically, this move is, in fact, wise. The masses are happier with a better football program, and the politicians will certainly take advantage of that come election season. It’s hard for a politician to score points by donning the school’s colors when the team isn’t cracking .500.

Overall, this editorial from the Observer is shoddy at best, as its conclusions are unsubstantiated and ill-considered.

Of course, this is the same paper that once employed one Greg Doyle, so I suppose this is what we ought to expect.

Additionally, the Observer itself has much to gain from a strong UNC football team because as the program’s stock rises, presumably the prospect of selling newspapers (and advertisements in print and online) will increase as well…

Advertisements