Wednesday, December 19, 2018

College Football Coaching Buyouts

I hate college football. I mean, I like college football, but I hate college football. Let's go back a few years. The first football games that I attended weren't Pittsburgh Steelers games. I have no idea how expensive Steelers tickets were in the early 80s or how easy it was to get tickets, but I attended several University of Pittsburgh football games during that time. My Cub Scout troop even got group tickets once or twice. Plus, Pitt Stadium was probably about a mile from my aunt and uncle's place, so we parked in their parking lot and walked to the stadium. While I don't remember the 1976 championship season (I was 1), the team was really good in the 1980s with All-Americans Dan Marino, Bill Fralic, Hugh Green, Mark May, and Jimbo Covert. As I got older, I was fortunate to get to watch other amazing players like Ironhead Heyward, Curtis Martin, and Larry Fitzgerald. So I do like college football.

With all of that written, let's be honest here. There are 130 Division I Football Bowl Subdivision teams, and of these teams, only about 15 teams have a legitimate chance of winning a national championship each year. First, you have to be in a power-5 conference (or have a very lucrative contract with NBC) to have a chance to win. UCF has proven to be an excellent team over the past two years, yet, they haven’t been invited to the college football playoffs. Then, you need a lot money. Money to hire the best coaches and for state-of-the-art facilities to recruit the top high school players. To have all of this money, you need a massive stadium and a large donor base to support the program. While I'm probably missing a few schools, here are those that have a true chance of winning each year, according to various betting sites:

Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, USC, Florida State, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Michigan, Auburn, Penn State, and Texas. I guess you could add Stanford, UCLA, and Miami in here too. That's the list.

Now here is my problem. Each year, colleges that are not on this list fire their head football coaches and pay millions of dollars as a buyout, settlement, or per the terms of the contact.* Mike MacIntyre was fired by the University of Colorado and has $10.3 million remaining on his contract.

Texas Tech, Kansas, North Carolina, Charlotte, East Carolina, and Central Michigan are just some other schools that fired their football coaches recently. These are public institutions. Where is the money coming from? Taxpayers? Increased student fees? Here’s my new rule: If you’re not one of the 15 or so teams I mentioned, you’re not allowed to pay millions to coaches who no longer coaching at your school. I have no idea how this could be implemented, but why let details get in the way of a good and fiscally reasonable idea!

* The Louisville Courier Journal published a story in October 2018 showing that fired coaches in 2017 got over $70 million in buyouts.

No comments: