It’s Good To Be Coach

[Re-posted from earlier today.]

This Deadspin graphic, which went viral last week, identifies the highest paid public employee in each state:

Highest Paid

The accompanying article by Reuben Fishcher-Baum argues that coaches don’t deserve such wealth:

Looking at data from 2011-2012, athletic departments at 99 major schools lost an average of $5 million once you take out revenue generated from “student fees” and “university subsidies.” If you take out “contributions and donations”—some of which might have gone to the universities had they not been lavished on the athletic departments—this drops to an average loss of $17 million, with just one school (Army) in the black. All this football/basketball revenue is sucked up by coach and AD salaries, by administrative and facility costs, and by the athletic department’s non-revenue generating sports; it’s not like it’s going to microscopes and Bunsen burners.

Richard Vedder singles out college presidents, who are the highest paid in only four states:

The Chronicle of Higher Education tells us the median salary of public university presidents rose 4.7 percent in 2011-12 to more than $440,000 a year.

This increase vastly outpaced the rate of inflation, as well as the earnings of the typical worker in the U.S. economy. Perhaps, most relevant for this community, it also surpassed the compensation growth for university professors. Moreover, the median statistic masks that several presidents earned more than double that amount.

He goes on:

My associate Daniel Garrett analyzed the relationship between presidential compensation and academic performance for 145 schools, using the Forbes magazine rankings of best colleges. … Adjusting for enrollment differences, no statistically significant relationship was observed between academic quality and presidential pay.