Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Jim Calhoun Criticized By CT Governor Jodi Rell

Connecticut Governor Jodi Rell criticized Jim Calhoun for his outburst at a reporter after Saturday's win over South Florida, his 799th.

If you haven't seen the clip yet, here it is:

Governor Rell is correct that Calhoun probably was a little bit harsh on an overzealous freelance reporter that was clearly just trying to drive traffic to his blog. The situation is pretty bad in CT. From the Hartford Courant:

the state's growing budget deficit is projected by the legislature's nonpartisan fiscal office at $1.35 billion for the current fiscal year and $8.7 billion over the next two fiscal years. State employees are being asked for furlough days and other concessions as the legislature tries to wrestle with the worst fiscal crisis in decades.
Calhoun is, in fact, the highest paid state employee, and while it was not the place or the time for the question (it actually was the first question asked at the post-game news conference), it is one that deserves to be asked.

In the video, you can hear Calhoun say "come back with some facts." Well, here are the facts. The $12 million a year that Calhoun mentions is revenue only, not profit. A Boston Globe article claims that it is only $7.3 million that Calhoun's team generates, which is partially true. The athletic department also claims about $20 million in corporate sponsorship contracts, which are not generally assigned to a specific team (but to the department as a whole), but according to the Courant, the men's basketball team can fairly claim $5 million of that, bringing the total to over $12 million dollars.

That does not even factor in the money that a high-profile basketball team brings in via alumni and booster donations.

With reported expenditures of $6.1 million in 2007-2008, it is fairly obvious the school and the athletic department are both pocketing some good money.

What is that money used for? To help pay for non-revenue generating sports. To help pay coaches salaries. Honestly, it does not matter to me where the money goes, just that it is being brought into the University.

Calhoun is clearly good at his job. But it is more than just the money he is bringing in. He has won 799 career games and two national titles, and he already is a hall of famer.

When it comes down to it, Calhoun may actually be underpaid. Billy Donovan, who won back-to-back titles with UF in '06 and '07, makes $3.5 million. Coach K makes $2.2 million. Bill Self, who won the title last year, makes $30 million over ten years. Billy Gillispie, who has done absolutely nothing yet, is making $2.3 million. Rick Barnes is making $1.8 million. Thad Matta $1.75 million.

And you're complaining about the $1.6 million a living legend is making?

The bottom line is that while Calhoun may have reacted poorly to a sensitive line of questioning at the wrong time, it is not fair to criticize someone for their salary. Especially when that someone worked their tail to turn the UConn basketball program into a national power.

The reporter shall remain nameless and linkless here. If you want to read what he writes, find it on google.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Coach Calhoun never answered the question: In this economy whould he be willing to take a symbolic pay cut ?

Well ? ( Eli )