It’s Winning or Else … Of Course

By Harry M. Covert

News leaks started seeping. The football coach was going to be fired, smack in the middle of the collegiate season. Usually replacing such personages waited until a season’s end.

In these days and times administrators just figure why wait? The thinking is easy. The coffers are full of cash so pay the guy off and get on with replenishing resources, dollars and wins.

That is entirely the story. From College Park, Maryland, The University is obviously flush beyond measure in the money department. And, they are fresh from extending the contract of the coach to 2017.

To rid themselves of Coach Randy Edsall the Terrapins will pay him off at $4.7 million. This includes $2.1 million salary for 2015 and another similar amount in 2016 and then a $500,000 buyout.

It is difficult for the older generation, especially sports enthusiasts, educators and taxpayers in general, to understand the modern day economics. Every wonder how many college professors or administrators earn such stipends as the sporting fraternity?

Certainly a person ought to earn as much as the market will bear. Mr. Edsall assuredly had a terrific agent. Head coaches of collegiate football programs do have difficult tasks because their efforts bring in gargantuan amounts to the university sports venues. Just how much goes into the academic efforts is generally not mentioned or emphasized.

After five years, Mr. Edsall has been unable to provide bigtime wins. Certainly not reaching the acme of Vince Lombardi’s thinking, “winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.”

Big Time in the Big Ten

Terps’ leadership was willing to pay some $50 million to leave the Atlantic Coast Conference a few years ago to join the Big Ten. Obviously the move was for enormous financial success. So far, and unfortunately for Coach Edsall there were no big time football successes.

The idea of college football nowadays is to generate millions upon millions of money from ticket sales, television and radio revenue and player athlete scholarships to pay for college classes, room and board and books. Days of winning for old alma mater truly are things of the past. Some of the young athletes good enough for scholarships are fortunate to find professional athletic careers. Some use their academic prowess for other endeavors. This is mighty fine.

As the college programs generate so much money, the young athletes don’t share into the cash. Yes, school scholarships but they’re tagged with the idea they are student-athletes. A bogus description perpetrated and affirmed by the federal courts and enjoyed by the school presidents, trustees and alumni.

It was a bit perturbing at first as Edsall’s demise was making the rounds. Then old-timers realize modern coaches, players and students face things differently than before. The College Park “massacre” may not be so bad after all. The coach is well cared for in the money department unlike the teacher-coaches of the past. None of the staff need part time jobs when their seasons are over.

Do college assistant coaches of any sports teach physical education classes today? That’s a subject for another day.

Costs of college educations in the modern day are beyond outrageous. Who can pay $45,000 a year for their sons and daughters? That’s rather stiff but normal. Student loan programs are out of control, too.

Thinking about the status of football coaches and their equals does bring about startling conversations and revelations.

Temptations for Coaches?

The University of Maryland’s search will find another coach. According to reports they are prepared to increase the financial package. The recipient will likely be well known and taken from an already winning program – professional or collegiate. They’re intertwined anyway.

Are they thinking about Alabama’s Nick Saban, a $6.9 million man or Ohio State’s Urban Meyer, $6.5 million man. These two salaries are yearly and the top-two in the country. Can they tempt the Baltimore Ravens’ John Harbaugh a $7 ,million annual coach?

Who “wins one for the Gipper” anymore?

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