Coaches or co-conspirators? Big money's role in college football

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by BYRON HARRIS

WFAA

Posted on February 1, 2014 at 10:24 AM

It's no secret that some college football coaches make a lot of money.

Documents obtained by News 8 under the Texas Public Information Act show the top public university coaches in Texas are doing quite well.

UT's new head football coach, Charlie Strong, will make $5 million per year, an outline of his contract released by the university shows.

His predecessor, Mack Brown, made about $5.4 million, with fringe benefits of two cars, expenses, and club memberships.

Kevin Sumlin, head coach at Texas A&M, made $5 million, with similar fringe benefits of two cars, expenses and club memberships.

UNT coach Dan McCarney made a total of $545,000, a car, and club membership.

Texas Tech's Kliff Kingsbury made a base salary of $300,000, with a car, and a club membership, too.

Click here to view the contracts.

But Kingsbury also made another $1.55 million in a category that doesn't get much attention. Mack Brown got a total of $1.6 million of his total salary in the same category.

That category might be called "Shoes and Shows." Shows, as in media income as a representative of the university. Shoes, as in payments from from athletic equipment companies.

Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour pay big universities millions to use their gear. Notre Dame just signed a reported $90 million, 10-year contract to receive cash and product from Under Armour. The previous equipment income leader was the University of Michigan, which makes $6.3 million per year from Adidas.

Texas Tech, Texas A&M, and UT together receive a total of $4.1 million in cash each year, and nearly $5.5 million in free equipment from Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour, according to court documents and contracts obtained by News 8. Here is TAMU's contract with Adidas.

The big money is generated by huge revenues in college sports merchandise. Sports fans want the gear their teams wear, and they spend more than $4 billion per year on it.

In return for the cash and equipment their universities receive from the manufacturers, college players have become human billboards -- including logos and labels on their shirts, helmets, gloves, wristbands, and chinstraps.

Ed Desser is an expert witness in a lawsuit between former college basketball player Ed O'Bannon and the NCAA. Desser runs his own sports media company and is a former television executive with the NBA.

In an affidavit filed earlier this month in the case, Desser outlined the huge moneys that flow to the NCAA from media and equipment deals.

"The NCAA players are not billboards affixed to the tops of buildings along highways, but when you consider all of the tight shots that appear after a play takes place, and before the replay, those tend to be head shots, just below the shoulders, and miraculously, that's where the corporate logos are," he said.

The O'Bannon lawsuit says the NCAA and member schools are "co-conspirators," guilty of restraint of trade and unjust enrichment for not allowing college players a portion of the billions in revenue schools take in from college football and basketball.

"The players are not allowed to get salaries," Dresser said. "They're not allowed to get anything but very trivial per diem. They're not allowed to do endorsements."

Coaches, on the other hand, are paid handsomely for representing their universities. That's the "show" component of "shoes and shows."

Most coaches contracts allow the schools unlimited rights to the coaches likenesses.

Coaches get bonuses if their teams go to televised bowl games, all of which now have corporate sponsors. Those sponsors now pay up to $100 million for naming rights to those bowl games. Players wear the logos of those companies on their jerseys, but get nothing in return.

"We need to eliminate unjust NCAA rules that create physical, academic, and financial hardships for college athletes across the nation," former Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter said this week.

He announced the formation of the College Football Players Association. He encourages players to unite, and to see some of the money colleges take in on sports diverted to making sure players with lasting injuries get the medical care they need. Revenue sharing is not an immediate goal of the CFPA, but it seems likely.

College football and professional football are run on the same business model, Desser said. His affidavit states that college football telecasts contain more commercials than pro football telecasts,

The difference, of course, is that with the exception of their university scholarships, college players don't get paid.

Here are the contracts of some of Texas' top college football coaches:

Former UT football coach Mack Brown contract by Jason Trahan

Texas A&M football coach Kevin Sumlin contract by Jason Trahan

 

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