Notre Dame, Michigan, Ole Miss: Why College Football Needs Performance Pay

Bohdi SandersContributor IIINovember 20, 2011

How many jobs can you think of where an employee can be a complete failure at his position, make a total mess of the organization that he has been hired to manage and get paid millions of dollars for doing it? Being a head football coach is one of those jobs.

This is utterly ridiculous. College football coaches can be complete failures, do a terrible job, leave a program in shambles and the school has to pay them millions to fire them. This is totally asinine!

Yes, I am well aware that it is the school administration who agrees to this illogical contract. Maybe it is time to hold athletic directors and school administrators accountable as well. This practice has gotten totally out of hand.

Politicians and communities across the country can be heard demanding performance-based pay for teachers. They want teachers' salaries, which are dismal to begin with, to be based on how students do on standardized tests, even though a large percentage of students and parents could care less about standardized test scores. This is society's answer to the problems in our educational system.

At the same time, we don't hear anyone complaining about the ridiculous buyout clauses that college coaches get. Being a failure as a college football coach at a major program is equal to hitting the lottery. A coach can do a terrible job and turn into an instant millionaire.

Don't believe me? Look at these examples:

Houston Nutt ran the Ole Miss football program into the ground and was forced to resign. Ole Miss has to pay Nutt $6 million just to leave.

Nutt was quoted as saying, "The thing about the SEC that I know, they pay you to win."

Well, apparently, they pay you pretty good to lose, too!

Rich Rodriguez was a complete failure at Michigan, leaving the program in a mess with NCAA rule violations and sanctions, yet was paid $4 million because of his buyout clause. Again, this coach did not do what he was hired to do, yet got rich because of his poor performance.

Charlie Weis was paid between $4 and $18 million to leave Notre Dame after failing to do what the school hired him to do. John Mackovic was paid almost a million dollars to leave Arizona and never posted a winning season.

Tyrone Willingham got $1 million to leave Washington. Glen Mason got $2.2 million to leave Minnesota. Tommy Bowden got $3.5 million to leave Clemson. Dennis Franchione got $4.4 million to leave Texas A & M. Tommy Tuberville got $5.1 million to leave Auburn. This list could go on and on. This is just a sampling, but you get the point.

These schools are educational institutions first and foremost. Teachers and professors make just enough to get by (if they are frugal with their finances), and people are up in arms about them not deserving the minimal salaries that they receive. At the same time, these coaches are doing their jobs poorly and getting rich.

Who cares about sanctions? I got $4 million!
Who cares about sanctions? I got $4 million!

Where's the outcry about this? Why is no one calling for performance pay for coaches?

We hear so much about how stressful a coaching position is and how much pressure is on the coaches to win. Are you serious? When you have a multi-million dollar buyout as your worse case scenario, you don't have a lot to be stressed about. Go ahead and fire me...PLEASE!

If someone does not do the job for which he is hired, he should be fired, period. If a coach such as Houston Nutt takes a coaching position and fails to do what he is hired to do, the school should not have to give him a winning lottery ticket to quit doing a crappy job. Yet this continues to happen every year.

It appears that our country has its priorities backwards. Let's pay teachers a minimal salary and demand performance pay from them, while at the same time, coaches are paid millions with the only demand on their performance being if they don't perform, they get paid more.

Where has common sense gone in this country? Are people so obsessed with sports that they think this somehow makes sense?

I am giving notice to all major football programs today. I am willing to quit teaching, come to your school, run your football program into the dirt and I won't even ask for a yearly salary. That's right, I will do it for free! All I ask is that you put a nice buyout clause in my contract.

Hey, I got it. After I get my lottery ticket for being a complete failure at my job, I can then work for ESPN as an expert analyst and get paid for sharing my winning expertise with others while continuing to get paid for doing next to nothing. Yeah, there's the ticket!

If only we were all so lucky.