Fat Cats Getting Richer; No Spitting, Please

It wasn’t too long ago that any college Athletic Director would be thrilled to get a $250,000 salary and a head coach would do backflips if he got a half million.

My, how times have changed.

A new survey by Athletic DirectorU published a few days ago revealed some startling numbers.

About half of the ADs in Power Five conferences are now making over $1 million, topped by Texas’ Chris Del Conte at $2.33M.

A few from the Group of 5 Conference ranks have reached the seven-figure category, led by UCF’s Danny White at $1.33M.

The 2019-20 AD salary averages by conference are as follows: Big 12—$1.33M, Big Ten—$1.13M, ACC—$1.03M, SEC—$1.03M, and Pac-12—$839K.

The Pac-12 average will go up once new UCLA AD Martin Jarmond’s salary is figured in. Jarmond reportedly signed a six-year deal starting at $1.2M and increasing to $1.7.

Nice work if you can get it. And these folks aren't exactly household names.

Coaches are doing even better. The 2019 USA Today survey of head college football coaches revealed that the average salary in the FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision) is now $2.67 million; 31 coaches make over $4M, led by Clemson’s Dabo Swinney at $9M.

Most of the money that funds these exorbitant paychecks comes from football revenue.

Perhaps now you can understand why the ADs and coaches are so determined to play the 2020 football season.

A Voice of Reason: With many coaches clamoring to bring their players in on June 1 and lobbying for a full football season, there was one voice of sanity last week. It came from a surprising source…Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley.

“In my opinion, we need to bring them (the players) in as late as we possibly can before we play a season,” Riley said. “Every day early that we bring them in is a day we could have gotten better. It’s a day we could’ve learned more about the virus. It’s a day PPE maybe gets better. It’s a day closer to a vaccine. It’s a day that our testing equipment and testing capabilities get better, and it’s just not worth it.

“So we’ve got to be patient. We get one shot at this and we’ve got to do it right…All this talk about these schools wanting to bring players back on June 1 is one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever heard. And so we’ve got to be patient. We’ll get one shot at it, to bring them back at the right time when we’re prepared and know as much about this as we possibly can.”

Bravo!

MLB Rules for 2020: California Governor Gavin Newsom announced yesterday that pro sports events could be permissible—without fans—by early June, which made millions of fans and hundreds of players very happy.

When major league baseball resumes, it will feature a host of new rules designed to keep players and team staff as safe as possible during the COVID pandemic.

Some of them are going to be hard to enforce.

According to a “first draft” obtained by AP, showers at the ballpark will be discouraged and players will be encouraged to arrive in uniform. Teams will be banned from eating at restaurants. There will be no lineup exchanges, hugs, high-fives, fist bumps, mascots or bat boys allowed. Managers and coaches will be required to wear masks in the dugout, and clubhouse lockers will be at least six feet apart.

And here’s where it gets really interesting. Sunflower seeds, smokeless tobacco, and spitting will be prohibited, and pitchers won’t be allowed to lick their fingers.

If you’ve spent any time in a dugout, or just watched a lot of games on TV, you know spitting is second nature to baseball players. It’s as natural as breathing. Check out the floor of a dugout—or the area in front of the dugout—and you’re likely to see hundreds of sunflower seed shells and tobacco juice stains. All from spitting.

Likewise, many pitchers love to lick their fingers, sometimes before every pitch (see Sergio Romo). This is an instinctive move that will be difficult, if not impossible, to police.

All I can say is, good luck with that.

Gary Cavalli - Bowl and League co-founder, author, speaker 

Gary Cavalli, the former Sports Information Director and Associate Athletic Director at Stanford University, was co-founder and executive director of the college football bowl game played in the Bay Area, and previously was co-founder and President of the American Basketball League.

Get in touch//@cavalli49//gacavalli49@gmail.com

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