Monday, February 23, 2009


"Pete Carroll, the head football coach at U.S.C., received $4,415,714 in 2007," reports The NY Times. The average full professor at a seminary or Christian college received much less than $100,000 a year.

More evidence of a fallen world. Kenny G far outsells John Coltrane, too... But money is not the final marker of worth, as Jesus repeatedly affirmed.


Peter Malik said...

John Mayer sells more records than Adam Holdsoworth...

Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D. said...

Allan Holdsworth, my young friend!

Paul D. Adams said...

But of course there is disparity in all measurements when the ruler used is of the world. Any measure of strength in character or beauty in art will always be inaccurate if the starting point is wrong to begin with. Consider:

We are weak in prayer, but the Spirit helps us (Rom 8)

The weakness of God is stronger than man's strength (1 Cor 1)

Our bodies are sown in weakness, but raised in power (1 Cor 15)

God's power is made perfect in our weakness (2 Cor 12)

The almighty risen One sympathizes with our weaknesses (Heb 4)

I could go on but you get the idea. The sad thing is that the world does not even know there is a disparity!

Krave said...

I find this comment interesting. I've been reading the posts on this blog for the past few months now. Dr. Groothuis has repeatedly extolled the virtues of unfettered free-market capitalism (which I happen to agree with). However, the fact that successful football coaches earn a far greater salary than Christian professors is partly a result of a capitalistic economic system. Obviously, the demand for entertainment in America far exceeds the demand for Christian education. This is wrong of course, but this is capitalism working itself out.

Bill said...

Not trying to stir the pot, but USC football (as does other sports programs) creates a lot of revenue and jobs. At first it seems crazy to pay a college football coach that much money just to coach football, but when you look at how much revenue it brings universities so they can pay professors and buy computers and improve facilities and keep tuition lower than it could be, it's fair price for a top coach at a big program. I went to Kansas and we signed our basketball coach to a 10 year, $30 million dollar deal--an astounding number--until I read that last years championship, for example, brought the university more than $10 million in revenue just from last year alone. That $10 million (from tickets sales, merchandise sales, TV revenue, etc.) pays for all the other non-revenue generating collegiate sports (baseball, for example) and all things I listed above and more, and also brings in much needed money for a publicly-funded university. Think how much lower a professor's salary would be if not for the extra money college football and basketball generates.

Plus, without those jobs and revenues, there are some people who couldn't afford their Yanni cds ...

Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D. said...

Capitalism cannot right all wrongs. It is the best system overall. It is moral culture should supply the values that make for more equitable pay. There is no contradiction. I'd rather have these absurd salaries than Obama setting them.

michelle mcfatter said...

Thought I'm not a big fan of Coach Calhoun (Basketball coach of UCONN)his recent response to a reporter (shown in the clip below) explains Bill's point in a very succint, albeit ornery way:

ryan said...

How is it an absurd salary if the income (tens of millions) that USC football generates pays for the very professor's you think are being shortchanged?

Sports programs (Men's football/basketball) are like the fund raiser, if you will, girl scout cookie sales, that often fund such great research and academic opportunities at these universities.

I think there is more to this than just saying that Carroll's salary is absurd.

David said...

In response to Dave's comments, it might be that Doug is merely lamenting the fact that we live in a world in which there is such high demand for triviality in the first place.

I would share that perspective, though I wouldn't claim that athletic coaches shouldn't be paid that kind of money. Like you said, this is the result of a demand for the product.

David said...


I'm not sure the revenues from the athletic department get funneled directly into other areas of the university, as you suggest. Is that really the case?

Even so, the sort of pragmatic argument that you're appealing to is not without its problems. The ends don't justify the means, and I worry that the sports fanaticism at many universities distracts from more important matters.

BJS said...

I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment expressed & the resulting frustrations...
but, for what it's worth, Pete Carroll is an amazing man who does great -- no, fantastic -- work. He volunteers his time, on nights and weekends to go (often on his own) into inner-city LA and reach out to gang-members and high-school dropouts causing trouble. They respect him because, well, he's Pete Carroll. He teaches them to value themselves, to get up and go do something positive with their life -- and he's actually making a difference. He also gives a great deal of his income away to a variety of noble causes and charities, including his non-profit organization "A Better LA" that also works to stop gang violence on the streets of LA.

Again, I agree with the sentiment... but perhaps there's a better target that Pete Carroll. He's a good, admirable man who does great things both with his time, his talents, and his money.

Now... compare what a Full Prof at a Christian Seminary makes to what, say, Thomas Montag made in just 2007. He was "compensated" roughly $49 million dollars as the chief executive of Merrill Lynch. That's right, $49 million. Now, I have no doubt he worked his butt off and is incredibly talented -- yada, yada. It's just hard for me to imagine how anyone's work is ever worth that kind of "compensation." And, worst of all, of course, how did Merrill Lynch end up doing in 2007? ... oh yeah.

Or, how about this, John Thain (the last CEO of Merrill Lynch before the BoA merger) demanded his full bonus from his board in 2008 (even though the company was collapsing) and he pushed through $4 billion worth of bonuses to his top executives before the merger. That's right: $4 BILLION in bonuses. And remember: ML LOST $15 Billion in that same QUARTER AND required $20 Billion in taxpayer bailout.

If you want to discuss the ridiculous (better: insane) discrepancies between salaries and what they should be -- start at Wall St.
Sure, high profile coaches are probably over-paid as well. But they are small fries compared to these guys.

Brandy Vencel said...

As a homeschooling mother of four, my labor has no monetary reward at all. However, I think I am learning that to put a dollar amount upon what I do would actually minimize it in some way. Perhaps you could consider low pay a badge of honor. :)

Bill said...

Yes, college football and men's basketball (the only revenue generating sports in college) do pay for all the non-revenue generating athletics (soccer, swimming, baseball, softball, etc.) offered at a university. And yes, usually the money raised by the university from men's basketball and football also funnel into the schools general scholarship fund and other areas of the university after taking care of the athletic departments budget first (I say usually because this can differ from school to school). That does not include sponsorship deals like with Coke or Nike in which those go directly into a schools general fund.

Do the end justify the means? Do you think there is value in extra curricular activities such as women's soccer or tennis or rowing or baseball? I believe so. The only way these programs can be offered is because college football and men's basketball generate the money (which in one of the reasons baseball isn't offered at CU anymore because they don't have the money to support it). The more successful the coach, the more money he gets paid. The more successful a coach is, the more money the university brings in. The more money the university brings in, the more students benefit. That's a great return on investment.

Do athletics distract from academics? Maybe for a small percentage of student athletes who don't take the classroom seriously (who also tend to get negative attention). Most student athletes don't go to the NFL or NBA, most turn pro and go into everyday professions like you and me. In fact, the NCAA punishes schools who don't graduate enough of their student athletes.

Do athletics distract regular students? Probably not. In fact, research has shown that successful athletic programs do wonders for freshman enrollment. A successful athletic program unites a student body.

Like everything else in life, there is a negative side to college athletics, too--recruiting can have a dark side, athletes receiving special benefits from tutors or professors, you can say donations to an a sports program should go directly to the university instead, etc. But for the most part, college athletics give students who may not be able to go to college a chance to receive an education, it raises tons of money and exposure to a university, it raises money though increased fundraising, it gives young men and women a chance to compete in their particular sport after high school, and it is an additional source of school pride. I respectfully submit that all of those things combined, are worth a $4 million dollar investment in a football coach.

Jeremy said...


I looked at your profile and you're either a guitar player or a bass player. I suspect you're a bass player. Me too, and we have similar taste.

However, Kenny G outselling Coltrane is not exactly like John Mayer outselling Allan Holdsworth. Of course, Holdsworth is a superior talent, but Mayer is no hack (you've got to go beyond the pop-schlock radio ga-ga). He's an incredible player in his own right Too, it will be interesting to see where Mayer is as a musician when he's as old as Holdsworth (don't forget, Johnny-boy is only around 30).

Kenny G on the other hand sucks.