“Naturally, these coaches are big shots. We’re paying them as big shots,” says former UCLA chancellor and Florida president Charles Young. “That, in my opinion, is one of the worst things.”
That’s from a USA Today story on “College coaches and power: How much is too much?” It mostly focuses on football, but doesn’t ignore college basketball coaches. How could it? Some coaches such as Mike Krzyzewski are the face of their schools.
But the recent spate of scandals involving Joe Paterno and Jim Tressel have cast those coaches and their roles of power into the spotlight more than ever before. Coaches make big money, garner massive media attention and earn mega bucks.
And it’s only grown in recent years. From the story:
“The strain between modern-day intercollegiate athletics and the modern-day university … has very gradually escalated over the last 25 years,” says Stan Ikenberry, once a vice president at Penn State and a former president of the American Council on Education.
“The power coach is a major dimension of that — football and men’s basketball coaches who’ve had a record of success over a number of years and have developed a fan base and, at times, they begin to overshadow the institution itself.”
It’s an interesting read, even though it doesn’t really offer any solutions for schools other than to employ school presidents and chancellors who actually wield more power – be it in pay or in public perception – than their coaches.
Easier said than done. Guys who do that usually ascend to more prominent positions. Then what?
And if you hold up a coach an “incorruptible” person — as the story does with Coach K — that seems like a bad idea. Pretty sure Penn State did that very thing with Paterno for the last two decades. Just sayin’.
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