Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Rick Cleveland: Showing you the money

USA Today's report last week of athletic budgets at universities around the country raised some eyebrows in Mississippi.

The headlines told us Jackson State ($7.6 million), Alcorn State ($6.7 million) and Mississippi Valley State ($4.3 million), which all compete in the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC), all were among the lowest spenders in Division I. Valley ranked No. 228 of 230 schools, Alcorn No. 225, and JSU No. 220.

Meanwhile, Ole Miss' athletic revenue was highest among Mississippi universities at $110.5 million, followed by Mississippi State at $94.9 million.

Southern Miss's athletic budget checked in at $25.9 million.

Of course, everything is relative, and all the Mississippi schools were near the bottom of their respective conferences. JSU, Alcorn and Valley were all at or near the bottom of the SWAC. Ole Miss and State were among the lowest spenders in the SEC. And USM was next to lowest in Conference USA.

More figures: Texas A &M is the nation's highest athletic revenue producer at $194.4 million. Six of the top 10 and 10 of the top 20 highest athletic budgets in the nation were in the SEC (thank-you SEC Network).

And who knew that Old Dominion has by far the largest athletic budget in CUSA at $44.6 million? (I had no idea.)

Now then, let's really raise some eyebrows.

I have in my files a Clarion-Ledger sports section from June 6, 1989, when the newspaper reported on the athletic budgets of Mississippi's state-operated universities. For perspective purposes, you should know that in 1989, Brett Favre was a junior quarterback at Southern Miss, Rockey Felker was the football coach at Mississippi State and Warner Alford was the athletic director at Ole Miss.

The big news was that Ole Miss's athletic budget was the state's largest at – drum roll, please – $8.5 million. That's right: $8,500,000, or roughly $100 million less than it is today.

Hell, Hugh Freeze makes almost $5 million these days. State's budget was at $7.5 million, followed by USM at $4.9 million, JSU at $2.9 million, Alcorn at $1.3 million and MVSU at just less than a million.

Remember, this was less than three decades ago.

If my math is correct, the Ole Miss and Mississippi State athletic budgets are about 13 times larger than in 1989. Meanwhile, USM's is about five times larger, JSU's three times larger, and so on.

In other words, the rich are getting richer – and much faster.

And the poor are staying poor.

The June 6, 1989, story that accompanied those budget figures reported that then-USM baseball coach Hill Denson was getting a whopping 15.6 percent pay raise – all the way to nearly $37,000 a year. Meanwhile, MSU's Ron Polk, who had already been National Coach of the Year twice and been to the College World Series four times, topped the state's baseball coaches at just short of $50,000. Now, first-year coach Andy Cannizaro's four-year contract calls for more than 10 times that annually.

In 1989, then-MSU athletic director Larry Templeton made $75,000 a year. MSU's current athletic director, John Cohen, who was playing baseball at State in 1989, now reportedly makes $750,000, 10 times what Templeton made in '89.

Sure, there's been inflation, but that much?

No, the price of a new luxury car between now and 1989 has roughly doubled. So has the cost of a gallon of gas.

Coaches, at least those in the SEC, can afford plenty of both.

Rick Cleveland is a Jackson-based syndicated columnist. His email address is


Anonymous said...

One word. "BUBBLE"

Anonymous said...

And even though the black bears, under the direction of St. Beaver of Briarcrest Parking Lot, generate more revenue than any program in the state, they felt the need to cheat their way to success. Dark cometh for the confederates. Dark cometh.

Anonymous said...

I wish people would realize how asinine the whole business model of college sports has become. The NCAA spends millions trying to figure out if some 21 year old took 500 bucks from someone so he could go buy a case of beer or pay his cell phone bill while coaches and staff become millionaires building monuments to themselves.
The cost of Ole Miss all inclusive is around 25,000 a year I believe. Ole miss may have 400 athletes on scholarship a year. So the school spends more on the salaries of the football and basketball staff than is does on the total body of athletes.

Anonymous said...

AS ALWAYS---"IT'S ABOUT THE MONEY"---everything including education, church, medicine, law, oil, etc.---you name it.

PittPanther said...

Not just money, but TV money, is funding all of this revenue expansion. National TV has no interest in Div 1AA (FCS) football, and not much interest in Conf USA.

The only thing that stops this train will be continued viewer losses at ESPN. Fewer TV subscribers, fewer dollars from ESPN to the colleges.

Anonymous said...

Given the disparity with the athletic program budgets, and the history of how the HBCU athletic programs have ben decimated by "integration", perhaps HBCU's should explore a new athletics model where they actually pay their "student-athletes" their market value (think what Malik Newman would have made if he played over seas after high school, rather than hurt his stock by going to MSU). This would attract a higher caliber of player back to the HBCU's who once had the best athletes in the country competing for them. There is already an economist who is shopping this idea around.

It makes sense, especially considering that the NCAA appears to be little more than rich, mostly white guys getting richer off of the bodies and talents of young mostly black athletes who play football and basketball.

Anonymous said...

The real inquiry should be: What have the students who generate all that money got for their efforts. One can easily see the huge difference in salary and profits the money schools have garnered. But, what difference has it meant for the student athletes they depend upon. Relatively speaking coaches and administrators have much more than doubled, tripled, quadrupled their take, yet they allow the NCAA, the SEC, Big Ten, Big Twelve, ACC, etc. to rake in all this money and hardly utter a peep about the relative poverty of the "kids" generating this bonanza. If the coach can make 10 times more money, the student ought to have 10 times more benefits. But that would be socialism, right?

Anonymous said...

Malik Newman would then be an average but paid basketball player.

Anonymous said...

Great God! Those knuckleheads over at Jackson State waste so much damn money! And they still want more. Jeez.

Anonymous said...

A college football coach in Mississippi makes more than the President of The United States---something is wrong with this---I've never seen a coach that was worth more than $200,000 not even at Ole Miss.

Anonymous said...

Larry Templeton owes State an apology and a lot of $$ back. What a joke of an AD, and I'm a State grad....

Anonymous said...

St. Beaver of Briarcrest Parking Lot

That's funny right there, I don't care who you are.

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS.

Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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