The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s Tom Murphy beat me to the punch on an information request I’d been meaning to make — the latest figures on pay of the football coaching staff at the University of Arkansas.
Recent pays raises for three assistants to $300,000 a year brought the assistant coach payroll to $3.83 million. With Head Coach Bret Bielema’s $4.1 million, that brings the coaching payroll alone (this doesn’t include ancillary costs from tutoring to feeding, to equipment to marketing) to $7.93 million.
How does the coaching staff payroll compare to academic department-by-department faculty spending — total and average pay? I know that French literature, poetry and the like aren’t as important as football, but still. And, yes, I know that direct tax support and student fees don’t go into the coaching staff pay. But the ticket sales, advertising and TV revenue wouldn’t exist but for the franchise provided by the state’s public university campus, which exists first for academic reasons. I wonder if Sen. Bart Hester, a former Hog baseball player, is as concerned about football spending as he is about overall UA spending, which he seems to think is mostly a waste.
On a related note: I’m hearing of growing pressure being applied on the new chancellor at UA, Dr. Joseph Steinmetz, to send a signal whether he or Athletic Director Jeff Long is the top official on campus. This grows out of UA Trustee David Pryor’s concern with Long’s $100 million-plus football stadium expansion plan, which Pryor has questioned. Stay tuned.
By the way: Here’s a past report on the UA’s $97 million athletic department budget, which lists a $23 million budget for football. The UA is a top 20 school in athletic spending, if not always in the final rankings of its teams.