12 September 2008
But I still need my college football fix. So I do what has become my favorite pastime of late — I read the database of contracts for major college coaches compiled by USA Today. I read the one for Nick Saban, and it is a very good read, in particular for anyone who wants to know why the United States has become a second-rate nation and will remain so until we figure out what is important and what is not.Well of course Nick Saban is the reason for our status as a "second-rate nation". If Mr. Bissinger did read blogs, maybe he would have read Saban's contract at Coaches Hot Seat - where he may have noted that Saban is the fifth highest paid coach in major college football. But Bob Stoops is way to amiable a guy to take pot shots at. Why would he do the hard work of saying something nasty about Pete Carroll or Charlie Weis? To be fair, Saban isn't even the highest paid coach in the conference. In their continued desire to poke at Nick Saban, LSU paid Les Miles $1,000 a year more than Saban. But Alabama and Nick Saban are way too handy a target. Bissinger goes on to bemoan the country club membership and hours of free flight time, etc. It's the same poorly thought out, well worded pot shot that college football coaches should be accustomed to now. Yes, Buzz, coaches get paid vast sums of money. Probably even more than Pulitzer Prize winning authors like yourself. I understand that can be a blow to your fragile ego, but it's about revenue generation. For instance, take your snide implication that Alabama was foolish for paying for last season's disappointing results:
It is nice to know that Nick Saban takes his job seriously, although one thing Nick Saban did not do as far as I know was offer to reduce the size of his contract. For those wanting to keep score at home, which I always believe in, Nick Saban earned approximately $583,000 per win, given his salary for that first season was $3.5 million. The team managed to get a bid to the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, La., against Colorado. The Buffaloes were as mediocre as the Crimson Tide, with a 6-and-6 record of their own. The bowl was only one of 33 played last season. It was meaningless, a 30-24 Alabama win with no national implications. But under the terms of Nick Saban’s contract, it entitled him to a bonus of $65,000 because of the bowl incentive clause.What's interesting is that the University of Alabama (and the SEC, in all fairness) collected a reported $1.1 million dollars for Alabama's participation in the Independence Bowl. For those of you "wanting to keep score at home", Buzz, that's a net profit of roughly $1,035,000. That should probably cover his country club membership. The University of Alabama's athletic department brought in $53.2 million dollars in revenue last year, and made an estimated $32 million in profit (according to Forbes). The football team was responsible for a huge portion of that money. If a corporation made $32 million on a $21 million dollar investment, would Bissinger carp about the CEO's salary? He also takes Saban to task for comparing the Louisiana-Monroe loss to catastrophic historical events:
It caused Nick Saban, in some convoluted and hyperventilated statement, to compare the defeat and the need to rebound from it as being in the same vein as a few other notable disasters: “Changes in history occur after some kind of catastrophic event. It may be 9/11, which sort of changed the spirit of America relative to catastrophic events. Pearl Harbor kind of got us ready for World War II, and that was a catastrophic event.”Well, he's getting warmer; that story is only a year old. Yes, Saban was reckless and callous with those remarks. He's apologized for it more than twice. At least he didn't go on national TV and spew obscenities while reading bloggers the riot act... for spewing obscenities (among other things). I'm sure he won't read this - he's made his distaste for all blogs of all sort well known. He verbally assaulted Deadspin.com's Will Leitch on Costas Now last year over that very subject. Bissinger has taken blogs to task in the past for playing fast and loose with the facts and for being all about insults and "speed". He engages in more than a little of that himself in his op-ed piece. In fairness to Bissinger, the column is also about how Saban didn't look "happy" on the sidelines against Clemson. At least this time, he's just a week and a half too late with the story. Throughout, Bissinger continues to cry "all in the name of college football", wringing his hands about the state of the nation. Bissinger's book Friday Night Lights was made into a film. That film grossed 61.2 million domestically. "All in the name of high school football." It's a false analogy I know; the kids Bissinger wrote about didn't get a college education for the money Bissinger got paid. They didn't get a better shot at the NFL because of his writing. They didn't get room and board money for the hours they spent with Bissinger. My point is that Bissinger is perfectly willing to suckle at the teat of America's football fascination when the mood strikes him. But he begrudges Nick Saban the same luxury. In the process, glosses over all the positives a guy like Saban brings to the University. But talking about the advantages that go with the public relations problems would be hard work. And writing about events that happened months and years ago is certainly easier. Sounds like something a lazy, no good blogger would do. ED: Every Day Should be Saturday has their take up as well.
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