by Andy Silverman,
I read with great interest recently about a University of Arizona donor who gave $17.68 million in stock to be distributed to the basketball and football coaches and to the athletic director if they stay at UA through 2021-22. It would mean that Coaches Sean Miller and Rich Rodriguez would each get $6.2 million worth of stock under present value and Athletic Director Greg Byrne would get $3.5 million.
I recognize that a donor can direct how his or her contribution is used. Of course, the University is not obligated to accept any donation if they feel the direction by the donor is unconscionable, etc. Here to pay these three men an enormous amount of money just to stay at the University for the next few years is unconscionable. It is not that these guys don’t make a good yearly salary (the two coaches make well over a million dollars a year from the University and the athletic director was just raised to $625,000). Coaches’ salaries and bennies are clearly getting out of hand and now just sticking around is being highly compensated. When I retired from the University three years ago (I am officially on emeritus status but still plug away in my law school office each day) after 42 years, I got a nice thank you from some of my colleagues but not much more than that and didn’t really accept anymore. I got paid a salary each of my 42 years and that was all the University owed me.
I hope this donor supports causes in the community that are much more worthy than putting money up with the hope Miller, Rodriguez and Byrne stay for a few more years. In the big picture, that is surely not important especially when there are many folks in Tucson who are well below the poverty level. Let’s get real and stop this ridiculous escalation of coaches’ and AD’s salaries and remember that a University’s mission is not to produce winning athletic teams. At least we can hope, when Miller, Rodriguez and Byrne reap the benefits of sticking around, they remember that there are lots of folks who stick around as well but worry each day how they are going to afford rent, food and other necessities.