The rise of assistant salaries also follows the pattern of head coaches’ compensation, which tends to come under greater scrutiny, especially as reports come out year after year putting them in context of other state employees. In 2014, college coaches were the highest-paid public employees in 40 states. But while Nick Saban makes more than $7 million as Alabama’s head coach, another $5.3 million or so goes toward compensation for the Crimson Tide’s on-field assistant coaching staff. LSU head coach Les Miles makes $4.3 million; the Tigers’ nine assistants will pull in nearly $5.3 million. The 25 highest-paid coaches in college football made an average of $3.85 million last year, which Newsday’s Jim Baubach notes is higher than the $3 million salary Rex Ryan pulled in to coach the New York Jets. Meanwhile, the $1.5 million Smart, Cameron and Chavis make as coordinators is more than the $1.4 million Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly was set to make before signing a contract extension last January.
This is really interesting when college athletes don’t get cash money but in-kind benefits (tuition, room & board, a chance at a pro contract).
It’s fascinating to see how coaches have set themselves up to extract a good proportion of the “rent” earned from broadcasting rights. They must have lots of bargaining power or something.
It’s even worse when you realise that these are public universities and the coaches are pretty much the highest paid state employees in their respective states.