Like It Is:

Saban tops list of things to dislike about SEC

By: Wally Hall
Published: Wednesday, August 1, 2018
NCAA college football head coach Nick Saban of Alabama speaks during the Southeastern Conference Media Days at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, Wednesday, July 18, 2018. (AP Photo/John Amis)
NCAA college football head coach Nick Saban of Alabama speaks during the Southeastern Conference Media Days at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, Wednesday, July 18, 2018. (AP Photo/John Amis)

College football fans outside the footprint of the Southeastern Conference mostly hate the SEC.

Those inside the footprint mostly hate Alabama because it is simply the best football factory in all of America. It cranks out more championships and NFL players than any school anywhere.

Now, the school has redone the contract of 66-year-old Nick Saban, flaunting their wealth because it is highly unlikely Saban, at that age, was willing to take on the challenge of rebuilding a program.

Saban will make 25 times more than President Trump if he hits all his bonuses and there's no reason to believe he won't.

Provided the school's board of trustees approves the contract extension that runs to 2025 -- and they will if they like the location of their seats at Bama football games -- the Tide leadership has guaranteed no one named Gus or Jimbo will ever make more money than the head football coach of Alabama.

Jimbo Fisher, with one national championship on his resume, got $7.5 million per year guaranteed to jump from Florida State to Texas A&M, presumably just in front of the posse who had turned on him like he was Jesse James.

Gus Malzahn, with one almost national championship, got a new contract at $7.5 million after flirting with Arkansas and for winning 10 games and the SEC West championship, which paled considerably after Alabama won the national championship.

The business model in college football is out of control, and a prime example is what happened at the University of Arkansas where a guaranteed contract cost them $11.8 million to fire Bret Bielema.

One of the first things new Arkansas Athletic Director Hunter Yurachek said when he got to Fayetteville -- and he didn't say a lot about Bielema and nothing about his predecessor Jeff Long -- was that in his opinion, losing games was "cause" for firing.

Couldn't agree more.

It appears Fisher could go 0-120 the next decade and still be paid $75 million. Of course, he would get fired before that could happen but he'd still get the $75 million.

In that same spirit it appears Yurachek has sliced some of his athletic budget. The UA's athletic staff had grown to 19 under Long and this week it was announced the number was the same for Yurachek's staff, but he does not appear to need a lot of layers between him and the fan base.

At a basketball game last year a fan got sideways with one of the over-sensitive officials, and the official demanded the booster be removed. It was being handled very well by Chris Pohl, associate AD for events, but Yurachek got up from his seat and personally observed, ready to act if necessary.

It reminded yours truly of Frank Broyles in his heyday.

Broyles once followed an official off the court informing him, "You are the worst."

Broyles also said as a football coach that he never wanted to make more than his chancellor.

Those days are obviously long gone as TV has allowed coaches salaries to soar, but one can only wonder if the light at the end of the TV tunnel isn't a train. In the last year ESPN alone has terminated more than 150 employees and more people continue to cut the cord.

Streaming TV is the new trend and young people have jumped on it. Every time someone cancels cable or their dish service, ESPN loses more than $5. That doesn't sound like much, but multiply it by a million per month and it doesn't appear the current business model can be sustained.

Saban gets more money, more than he can spend, more than Jimbo or Gus and the SEC continues to wonder why it is disliked.

Sports on 08/01/2018

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