The University of Alabama may be number one in football nationally,but academically it’s number 77, according to the U.S. News rankings. Harvard, whose football coach makes less than $90 thousand a year, and whose professors make an average of $198 thousand, is in first place. Alabama’s professors make an average of about $130 thousand a year, while the football coach makes more than $5.3 million.
The highest ranking University in Georgia and Alabama is Emory in Atlanta. It’s 20th in the nation. It’s professors average pay is $153,000, and it has no football team. The second highest ranked university in the two states is Georgia Tech. It is 36th in the nation. The average pay for a professor at Tech is more than $141 thousand, higher than Alabama, Georgia, or Auburn. Yes, it does have a famous football team that even beats Georgia every now and then.
One of the main justifications for paying more than $5 million a year to Alabama coach Saban is that having a winning football team causes alumni to donate big bucks to the school. The best endowed university in the world is Harvard, and it offers no athletic scholarships. Emory, with no football team. also has huge endowments. There are people with a lot of money who value academic achievement more than football.
Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy a good college football game and watch some Georgia, Tech, Alabama, and Auburn games on TV, and always want them to win when they aren’t playing each other. When they are playing each other, I usually pull for the underdog. My son went to Tech, three great nephews of mine played in the Georgia Redcoat Band, another great-nephew of mine played in the Alabama Million Dollar Band.
Then there is the Georgia-Auburn game that was played in Columbus until 1958 (I think it was 1958). I always enjoy that one because it brings back memories when I got to see All-American Charley Trippi play back in the 1946. I was 15-years-old. My family sat in the cheap seats in the end zone and were glad to be there. Hey, it’s the best place in the stadium to see touchdowns. I loved it when the Auburn Band played the Tiger Rag with the tubas waving back and forth when they roared. Does the band still do that? And I always got a kick when the Redcoat Band played Glory Glory to Old Georgia. I know they still do that because I heard it at a Dawg Walk before a relatively recent game with Auburn in Athens.
Yes, I enjoy college football, but I do not value it over academics, and I don’t think coaches should make millions off the hard work and talent of college kids who get paid nothing for their efforts and taking the physical risks inherent in football. No football coach is worth forty times as much as a professor.