Wisconsin Chancellor: Harbaugh, Meyer overpaid

Submitted by FormAFarkingWall on October 8th, 2015 at 6:29 PM

Jim Harbaugh is making $7 million at Michigan this season, including a $2 million one-time signing bonus, and Urban Meyer is making $5.86 million for defending national champion Ohio State. USA TODAY Sports asked Wisconsin chancellor Rebecca Blank what she makes of Big Ten peers who are paying their coaches so much.

“Those are the choices they make,” she said in an interview for a story about coaching salaries. “That really begins to threaten the whole sense that we are not professional athletic teams. I’m not terribly happy about the fact that they made those choices. That’s my opinion.”


Blank understands market forces. She was acting secretary of commerce in the Obama administration and holds a doctorate in economics from MIT.

Nevermind that Harbaugh has likely, through ticket sales and merchandising, already generated revenue in excess of his total contract.  Also ignore the fact that paying Harbaugh his market value has ZERO impact on the Unversity's academic side of the coin.

If you can forget those two factors, she has a fantastic point.   




October 8th, 2015 at 9:10 PM ^

More proof that an economics degree and being appointed to a presidential cabinet don't mean jack sqaut.

If he were alive I'd ask the esteemed cabinet member with no real world experience to go talk to high school dropout Dave Thomas, founder of Wendy's, and get a real education.


October 9th, 2015 at 2:14 PM ^

I'm not sure the reason for all these poster's backlash.  I agree with her.  I understand the "market" economics at hand, but college football and professional football are supposed to exist in separate markets altogether.  The more that college athletics increase salaries, publicity, etc., the more that the line between amateur and professional atheltics decreases.  

Name another amateur sport that pays its coaches as much as college football.  What's more, the salaries beat out most professional sports.  Notre Dame's new Showtime series is yet another example of these blurred lines.  

Yet people wonder why these high school kids act like divas and celebrities--its because we give them that status.  They are surrounded by all the same components that celebrities and professional athletes are surrounded by.  In the end, it will be College Football's own fault when the term "amateur" gets removed from its title and it's left paying 17 year old kids millions of dollars.



October 9th, 2015 at 3:22 PM ^

"... college football and professional football are supposed to exist in separate markets altogether..."

There's your problem:  you make this assumption which is, of course, not true at all as far as coaches are concerned.  The football coaching markets are the same market.


October 9th, 2015 at 10:48 AM ^

depending on the institution, is typically the highest paid position on campus including the president. And that evolution isn't because of salary demands made by the person holding the job. It's because market forces have led to it.

Harbaugh and Meyer's ROI justifies their salary levels at their respective schools or they wouldn't be paid as they are. In Harbaugh's case, Michigan hired the hottest coaching candidate in pro and college football, and paid accordingly.

And it's not as if school donors, whose alumni base includes the owners of two professional sport franchises, who have generously returned money to Michigan over time far exceeding the fractional salary base of its highest paid employee, don't recognize what the cost of top talent brings today. If anyone understands that, it's the guy who hired him.

What has changed the face of college football is the same thing that changed the face of pro football, television exposure and the enormous pull the college game has on the emotional wellspring of its followers. Michigan has the largest stadium and living alumni base in the nation, and this didn't just happen overnight.

Michigan used to be on the poor side in terms of coaching pay. Woody Hayes and Bo Schembechler never cared about their salary level. Bo turned down a much higher paying job offer at Texas A&M to stay at Michigan.

Money in the game has grown with the expansion of AD budgeting and the escalation of the game in the public eye. It used to be that college football was treated like network baseball coverage. Now, virtually every college team in the nation in both FBS and FCS has the opportunity to be seen somewhere on cable TV or the internet. Coaching salaries have risen within that framework of growth, and the understanding that just like the arms race, if you want to be the best, you have to get the best coaching talent, and it costs serious coin.



October 8th, 2015 at 6:31 PM ^

It's just proof that Wiscy is so irrelevant that they can't understand why a football coach would be worth what Harbaugh or Meyer is being paid.

Avon Barksdale

October 8th, 2015 at 6:31 PM ^

Only $7M for Harbaugh and $5.86M for Urban? They both deserve $9M. Maybe if Wisconsin had spend money this offseason, they wouldn't be doing another coaching search in December 2017.

Paul Chryst is about as underwhelming a hire as Riley was at Nebraska.


October 8th, 2015 at 9:42 PM ^

I love UM and my second favorite is Pitt which has been mediocre for years including the past few with Chryst. They have some offensive talent in Tyler Boyd and James Conner but their defense was horrible as evidenced by their complete meltdown in the 4th quarter of their bowl game which was one of the worst things I've seen in watching football in my life.


Wisconsin will be sorely disappointed in Chryst, UM confirmed with Hoke that just because they are an alum it doesn't guarantee success and Wisconsin will realize the same thing as well.


October 9th, 2015 at 9:16 AM ^

I was highly disappointed in Chryst.  He seems uninspiring and lost.  He had Tom Savage, Devin Street, Tyler Boyd, and James Connor all on the same team and barely made a bowl, losing to the likes of Navy and average GA Tech in back to back weeks in 2013.  2014 was no better, even with a seemingly seamless transition at QB to Chad Voytik.  I know fumbles and turnovers can, a lot of the time, be chalked up to dumb luck and that cycles around, but when they fumbled on four of their first six offensive snaps against GT in 2014, that pretty much convinced me he's not a head coach.


October 8th, 2015 at 6:33 PM ^

Rebecca would have been better served to have a Blank stare rather than give that answer. The Washington Post had an article about how much more money EVERYONE in Ann Arbor is making this year compared to the past several years.


October 8th, 2015 at 6:36 PM ^

what happens to the $85 million annual revenue stream that the football program generates (on $25 million of costs) when fan enthusiasm for it is sinking and demand for the roughly ~$125 full cost/ticket  (~median price) is almost sure to follow in the same direction.


October 8th, 2015 at 9:14 PM ^

Is there some alternate universe where these people are famous (Rebecca Black and that "rapper")? Or is it just some girl who's rich parents tell her she can be anything she wants to be so they produced a video for this?

All that being said, it was hilarious and I couldn't stop watching it in a "train runs into a school bus full of juggaloos on their way to the gathering" sort of way.


October 8th, 2015 at 6:40 PM ^

Perhaps rather than paying coaches less than they could command in the open market, she should consider paying the players a small fraction of their market value.


October 8th, 2015 at 6:43 PM ^

Rebecca Blank's salary is ~$500k. I think her salary range really begins to threaten the whole sense that higher education is about educating people, and not lining the pockets of overrated administrators. I'm terribly happy I'm not a resident of Wisconsin paying taxes to employ this "highly educated" chancellor. That's my opinion.


October 8th, 2015 at 6:45 PM ^

And yet, Michigan somehow manages to retain its reputation and maintain its standards for academic excellence even when its football program garners more media attention than the academic side. Sounds like a win-win to me.