Sometimes a team, a program, needs to make a change in their ways. A coach who can win you nine games a year suddenly isn’t good enough and that change needs to happen before the end of the football season. Being a college football coach isn’t a job anymore. It’s a business. A business that might end up doing some harm to the game.
The buyout from the Texas A&M football coach was over $10 million. That’s right, Kevin Sumlin gets that much money because he was winning seven to nine games a year in the SEC. Even if he’s hired by another school in the next 60 days, he’ll get every single dime from that buy out. That just boggles my mind how much money schools are giving to an employee that doesn’t teach the kids much in the way of a regular education.
Yes, some schools have numerous NFL prospects but that shouldn’t make a college football coach the highest paid employee in a state. I read something on Twitter, might’ve been true and it might not have been, but the buyout of Matt Campbell at Iowa State was something like $9.4 million which scared away the Tennessee Volunteers.
Which didn’t upset me in the least.
However, that leads me to my next, and somewhat humorous/sad point. How does a team let their fan base dictate who their head coach is? Before I get back to the big business of college football, let’s discuss what Tennessee did. On Sunday afternoon they were getting set to announce their new head football coach, Greg Schanio after Jon Gruden turned down their high money offer.
Well, it turns out that Vols fans don’t want a thing to do with Schanio based on his time in Penn State, oh and the fact he’s not a good head coach. Rutgers is a hard place to coach at, but he didn’t do well there or in the NFL in Tampa Bay.
The fact that a team’s fan base can revolt against a possible hire can set a dangerous future standard for other schools to reject the head coaching changes. Doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to allow that to happen in any format even after a school has done their due diligence about a possible hire.
But these buyouts are just still blowing my mind. How you can fire a guy for doing their job to the best of their ability is insane but giving them over seven figures to make them go away… Imagine working for Walmart, you do your job for a few years, but didn’t quite get to that point they thought you would and gave you $500,000 to go away to find a new job? Maybe when you get a new job, you only get half of that buyout of your contract, but regardless, who wouldn’t mind getting fired in that situation?
With money like this, these coaches shouldn’t feel bad about getting fired, or least their agents won’t be. I read a story that the recently fired Mike Riley out of Nebraska took the time to shake the hand of people in the room in his final press conference shows that there is a good, decent side to these coaches, but it’s honestly hard to feel bad for the guy knowing he has a lot of money going his way after three mediocre years at Nebraska.
At our own state level, it would cost the Iowa Hawkeyes a lot of money to get rid of Kirk Ferentz. One of the possible buyouts states that if he won seven or more games in five seasons, he would get 100 percent of his guaranteed money if he’s canned between 2021 and 2025. That’s a good deal of money for a coach who hasn’t won a National Title.
Look, I love college football, more than I do pro football. It’s more exciting, there’s more than two games on TV to watch at a time without having to pay an ungodly amount of money, and the game feels like it moves faster than a snail’s pace like the NFL does. But the business of the game makes it so difficult to watch it sometimes, knowing that these coaches who get the blame for every mistake will get that money regardless.
It feels amplified when the kids they coach don’t seem to get a whole lot outside of their scholarships and anything under the table. Let’s not pretend that doesn’t happen either. The kids are worked for years with a degree, hopefully, and a shot at the NFL if you’re D1. Regardless, the business will keep spinning and I’ll keep watching.