Right now, the millions of dollars schools are making through sports are often going back into athletic programs. Colleges are caught in a never-ending race with their fellow institutions to attract the best talent with the best facilities, stadiums and coaches.
The Associated Press looked at federal filings by schools in the Atlantic Coast Conference, Big 12, Big Ten, Pacific-12 (formerly the Pac-10) and Southeastern Conference.
In 2003, the members of those conferences at the time reported average athletic department revenues of $45.6 million and expenses of $42.3 million. By 2011, the current members’ average revenue had increased 76.1 percent to $80.4 million. Expenses had grown at an even faster rate, up 76.5 percent to $74.6 million.
The average salary for head coaches of men’s teams increased almost 131 percent in that span, with football driving that number.
Alabama coach Nick Saban will make about $6 million this season, including bonuses, if the Crimson Tide beats Notre Dame. Kelly’s contract with Notre Dame pays him about $2.4 million per year, according to the school’s federal filings (because it is a private school, Notre Dame does not have to release his contract).
Having benefited most from the boom, it’s perhaps not surprising coaches such as Kelly and Saban support finding a way to get more money to their players.
“A lot of the young people that we have, that play college football, the demographics that they come from, they don’t have a lot and I think we should try to create a situation where their quality of life, while they’re getting an education, might be a little better,” Saban said. “I feel that the athletes should share in some of this to some degree. I don’t really have an opinion on how that should be done. There’s a lot of other people who probably have a lot more experience in figuring that one out, but I do think we should try to enhance the quality of life for all student-athletes.