The big news last week - bigger than the Carlyle Cup, if you can imagine such a thing - was, of course, Roy Williams getting a contract extension. I'm not sure it warranted the DTH's Cuban Missile Crisis Resolved-level newsbox on every page of their website, but you can now rest assured Williams won't be suddenly bolting to coach the Houston Rockets or anything.
The DTH's coverage is light-years beyond the comments the News and Observer tossed out in its blog however. The N&O immediately leapt to the comparison to new hire Butch Davis - Williams gets 1.5 to 1.8 million a year before Nike and Learfield money or performance bonuses, while Davis pulls in 1.3 to 1.6, also before the additional revenue sources. The lesson to pull away from this is
and not the fact that the open market established fair and incredibly lucrative contracts for two different individuals based on their skills, achievements, and history with the university.
It's strange to me that sports journalism seems to have assumed that in college football should me more important than basketball, and that any disruption of this natural order is a university that doesn't have its athletic priorities in order. It's either that, or they all think football coaches are delicate flowers, that can't stand to be underearning other athletic coaches. Hence the articles that blame Mack Brown's departure to Texas on playing second fiddle to Dean Smith, or the assumption that Butch Davis will never retire in Chapel Hill as basketball reigns supreme.
And it never runs the other way. No one blamed Texas A&M for losing Billy Gillispie to Kentucky because A&M valued football over basketball, and when the Wolfpack faithful were waiting for Rick Barnes, no one assumed he would leave Texas over nonexistent hurt feelings regarding Mack Brown. But a football coach being paid less than his basketball counterpart? It's blasphemy, and the sign of a deranged athletic director.
Look, these are two different positions, subject to the supply and demand of their individual markets. Williams' contract had more to do with what Gillispie signed at Kentucky than what Davis inked down the hall. After all does anyone think N.C State finds its football team 45% more important than its basketball team, simply because of what they pay O'Brien and Lowe? I didn't think so.
When Butch Davis was hired, I wanted to list UNC's faculty hires for the year as well, just for a little moralizing over the interest paid to the guy taking the offensive line coaching gig, versus that directed at the folks teaching rocket science, but UNC doesn't really gather that information. They do open up their books though. If your curious, Davis' and Williams' salaries together outweigh the sum total what UNC pays the 38 tenure-track faculty members of the School of Education.
Davis alone makes more than the 17 faculty members in the School of Information & Library Science. (A graduate of said program actually pointed me to this data. I'm not sure she'll be pleased by this.) If the performance bonuses push him over 2.05 million, he'll out earn the School of Social Work's 20 faculty members. (Time to call Michael Jordan again) Only Williams will clear the School of Journalism & Mass Communication's faculty payroll of 33, however.
Huh, maybe that explains the newspaper reporting on the issue.
(The use of multiple Texas examples is meant neither to make any implication about that state's basketball ability, or in anyway interrupt Peter's Bill Simmons schadenfreude. They're merely the first coaches that came to mind.)