Should college coaches be paid as much as pro coaches?

It’s hard to know what to make of the data about college coaching salaries. On the one hand, a majority – even if it’s a small majority – think that pro coaches deserve more. But a decent amount (39%) thinks college coaches should get paid just like the pros. So coaching at Kansas, or UNC, or Kentucky (and the list could go on and on) should command the same salary as coaching the Knicks or the Lakers. And the same would go for University of Texas football, and Florida Football, and all the teams that dominate Saturday afternoon television.

 A missing piece of information here is how many of those fans think college coaches should receive MUCH less than pros. As is, we’re not sure exactly what they mean.

 A couple of interesting points. First, it’s a bit odd that more people thought that college coaches should get paid like pros than thought college athletes should get paid at all. Clearly, coaches aren’t part of that whole “amateur model” the NCAA preaches, at least not in the minds of the American public. Any star athlete on a star team probably has to wonder about this.

 Second, it’s interesting that those making under $50,000 a year were more likely to support high coaching salaries than those making over it. I would have assumed that wealthier Americans might have supported higher salaries, while those less fortunate would do the opposite. Perhaps this is the power of aspirations, something that’s right out of the playbook of many political campaigns.

 Maybe in the end, I understand the lack of clarity on this. Let’s face it, major college coaches manage enormous budgets and look just as professional as their counterparts in the pros. They’re spokespersons and they never get a day off. In the pros, there’s no recruiting season. And a bunch of coaches have gone from college to pros and back. But if the NCAA is truly going to ever reign in runaway spending in college sports (and coaching salaries are the number one culprit), they would be best served by trying to manage salary expectations. As long as the NCAA looks like it’s competing with the pro ranks, this will be extremely difficult to do.  Click here for poll results and here for video commentary.

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