More than pigskin with Livingston

Darius Livingston, Sports Editor

Every single college football coach in the SEC ㅡ which consists of powerhouse schools such as the University of Alabama, Auburn and the University of Florida ㅡ are contracted to make over $4 million this year. These salaries raise eyebrows across the county; presidents of these universities don’t even make a fourth of that amount.

According to USA TODAY, the lowest wage earner on their top-20 list of best-paid college coaches will earn $3.2 million this year; the highest wage earner, Nick Saban, will earn about $8 million.

College coaching salaries have been an ongoing controversial topic for many years and people are usually of two camps: those who say the salaries are outrageous and those who believe these coaches are worth every penny they earn. But who’s right?

Many people believe that the money created by the sports programs goes directly into the pockets of coaches.

First, let’s address those who believe the salaries are ridiculous and have turned our institutions of higher learning into training grounds for professional athletes at the expense of education.

According to the NCAA, 96 percent of its annual revenue is returned to its member schools either in direct payments or in programs and services, and of that 96 percent only four percent is allocated to administrative expenses and staff salaries.

The annual revenue is distributed to programs such as conference grants, grants-in-aid, sports sponsorships, and student assistance funds.

With all the money that sports programs generate, statistics show that the money coaches earn is well deserved.

According to sports talk show host Woody Paige, Texas University made over $150 million in revenue last year, with a majority of it coming from the football program. Because of this revenue, other sports that generate little, if any money, such as gymnastics, baseball and lacrosse, are able to still be offered.

Pac-12 division powerhouse USC brings in about $76,409,919 in total revenue each year, which is accumulated between tickets, students, away games, subsides from university coffers, media rights, branding, and ㅡ perhaps the most essential ㅡ alumni donations, according to ESPN.

Not only do these winning football programs bring in revenue to their respective universities, they also bring media attention and worldwide recognition.

When USC was consistently in the top 10, its student application rate rose substantially and the school became more selective and prestigious ㅡ even posting higher SAT scores and GPAs than Cal or UCLA applicants.

Without the three football subdivision championships that Nick Saban brought to Alabama, the university would more than likely only attract students who attended high schools in the area or students who found interest in their academic programs.

Without the leadership, revenue, and popularity most of these coaches bring into their school, universities would not have the support and prestige they currently have; let alone funding for other programs that attract students to their campus. Worth it? Absolutely!