"Look at me! I'm on a soap box! College coaches of silly sports are the top paid public employees in a vast majority of states! What a sick society! Let me preen in my SWPL righteousness. I care about important things." That is your average non-sports fans whining about college coach pay. It's not the coaches. It is that amateur football and men's basketball are gigantic tax free money making machines for the universities.
Name me another employee in any state government that has as great of a return on investment as Alabama football coach Nick Saban? Alabama's football team is worth +/- $100 million dollars. Each time Alabama has made a BCS bowl game, it has earned his conference over $15 million, $30 for the last championship game they went to. Sell out home games non-stop. Who else is doing that? Governor? DMV division head? What state employee compares? No one creates value in government jobs as they are all a transfer of wealth from taxpayers to tax takers. Hiring Nick Saban boosted Alabama's bottom line, and has been the best invested they ever made. Even mid-tier big conference football programs see good returns like Iowa and Kirk Ferentz. He earns $3.65 million per year, but the last BCS bowl game nearly paid for the extension itself.
Forget college professors. A STEM professor could bring in grants, but not the year after year return a successful coach can earn for a school. What do college professors do for their money and tenure? My cousin in a tenure track position teaches two courses and must get at least 3 articles in a peer reviewed journal. That is eight hours of teaching, with specific books required by the department head, a few office hours, hours grading papers, and then writing her articles. Wow, wicked tough. Make her a millionaire. Look at that map again. The northeast has non-coaching jobs as the highest paid government employees because their state school sports programs are awful (notice Connecticut with UConn basketball is the exception).
Big time college sports is a sick system. It also earns billions. Those billions keep all the crappy sports in business. I would rather see major sports programs clean up who they recruit (no rapists for starters) and properly deal with criminal athletes rather than cover for them. Additional hypocrisy is the nation bitching about Marxist professors who do not teach anything right, state governments being corrupt, inefficient leviathans and the entire university system being a racket yet pointing and shouting about coach salaries. Grandstanding about coaches earning millions might make you feel good with your SWPL friends on social media, but think it through next time before regurgitating the colorful graphic.