A Bit More on Football Coaches Salaries: The Case of California

Here’s a brief note to add to Martin Kich’s interesting post on the salaries of Division I college football coaches.   Not on the list of the 25 most highly paid college football coaches provided by Marty is Sonny Dykes, who just completed his first year of coaching the University of California, Berkeley Bears.  Dykes’s contract calls for him to be paid $9.7 million over five years, with his 2013 salary pegged at a “mere” $1.8 million, which would have ranked 47th among head coaches in 2012 according to the USA Today salary database.  In his previous position at Louisiana Tech, Dykes made $750,000.  His predecessor at Cal, Jeff Tedford, made $2.6 million in 2012.

However, as San Francisco Chronicle reporters Phil Matier and Andrew Ross reported in September, the real cost to the university of having a football coach is a whopping $16.3 million!  That sum represents the total package of contract payouts for Tedford, who was fired, and the various incentives being paid to bring in Dykes.  Here’s the details, according to Matier and Ross:

First up, there was the $6 million left on Tedford’s contract – including a $1.8 million installment due in April 2014 and a $1.95 million check the following year.

Then there is incoming coach Dykes’ seven-year contract worth $9.7 million – which includes an annual base pay of $250,000, plus a yearly “talent fee” for TV and public appearances that will grow from $1.55 million this year to $1.85 million by 2017.

The $9.7 million total doesn’t include:

— A $594,000 one-time signing bonus (which, not coincidentally, is how much money Dykes owed Louisiana Tech for breaking his contract to come to Cal).

— A $25,000 bonus if he wins seven regular-season games.

— A $60,000 bonus if he takes Cal to the Rose Bowl.

— And up to $23,000 in bonuses if players perform well academically.

Dykes also gets a $900-a-month stipend to cover the cost of two cars, a free Claremont Country Club membership and four premium stadium seats.

Plus, he was reimbursed for untold thousands of dollars in moving expenses.

Note the comparative pittance of a bonus for players’ academic performance.  Obviously, Dykes won’t be receiving that money — or any money for regular-season wins and a Rose Bowl appearance.  In 2013, Cal’s football team finished dead last in the Pac-12 Conference with an overall record of 1-11.  More important, this fall Bay Area fans learned that among 72 Division I institutions Cal’s football and basketball teams ranked dead last, that is, 72nd, in player graduation rates.  This at an institution that likes to promote itself as the premier public research institution in the world.

While the highly competitive university routinely turns away applicants who earn straight A’s in high school, it has also been admitting student athletes on full scholarship even if their average high school grade was a B-minus. Its policy, in fact, permits a C average.  And while most applicants with low SAT scores are turned away, athletes who average just 370 out of a possible 800 in each subject – math, critical reading and writing – are invited to enroll, according to a report by John Cummins, who retired in 2008 as associate chancellor and chief of staff, and Kirsten Hextrum, a doctoral student in the Graduate School of Education.

But it’s not just admissions.  Rival UCLA admits nearly three times more academically underqualified student athletes each year than UC Berkeley, yet its football and men’s basketball players have done a far better job earning degrees than Cal’s have.  This is also in part about race.  Just 4 in 10 black male athletes on average earn a degree from Cal within six years of starting school, compared with 7 in 10 white male athletes.

But surely investing $16.3 million in salary, benefits, and perks for not just one but two head coaches will solve the problem.

CORRECTION:  The original version of this post incorrectly referred to John Cummins as a former head of intercollegiate athletics at Berkeley.  That reference has been removed.

2 thoughts on “A Bit More on Football Coaches Salaries: The Case of California

  1. Pingback: The Tip of the Iceberg | Academe Blog

  2. Pingback: The Morass of Big-Time College Football | ACADEME BLOG

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