In Football, a Culture Change is Needed
The University of Texas has benefitted greatly over the years from its athletic programs. Football alone has brought in hundreds of millions of dollars in donations that benefit not only scholarship athletes and coaches but also academic programs, allowing UT to remain a tier one university despite ever-shrinking funding by the state.
These football monies have allowed the University to build facilities for athletes in all sports that are among the finest in the nation rivaling in grandeur the Taj Mahal. . The head coaches in all the major programs are allotted money to hire the best assistants, trainers and tutors. The athletic budgets, unlike the academic budgets, do not have to endure draconian cuts when state funding is reduced since athletics is funded primarily by football revenues, not the taxpayers of the state.
In this Title IX era, football revenues have allowed UT to fund numerous women’s programs, more than virtually any other university.
But what happens when coaches do not produce? In some cases they are treated as coaches for life even when their performance does not justify their pay.
Mack Brown, Head Coach, Football
Brown's annual base salary is $5.1 million, making him the highest paid coach in college football. His office, indeed the entire football complex, is extravagantly posh all the more to impress prospective high school recruits.
Brown came to UT in 1998 and made an immediate impact. From the very first year his teams were noticeably more competitive and more consistent than those of his predecessor. And he won the BCS national championship in 2005. The stadium is sold out and season ticket sales have grown. His recruiting classes are consistently ranked in the top ten and have been number one more than once. And he has slowed the mass exodus of five star Texas recruits to Oklahoma.
Yet for all this Brown has produced only two Big 12 champions and one of those included a “loss” where time was put back on the clock to allow UT to kick the winning field goal. By way of comparison, Bob Stoops, whose tenure at Oklahoma began in 1999, has won six Big 12 championships.
Even worse, the only year Brown won the Big 12 without help from replay officials (and the BCS national championship) he had at quarterback a man who was arguably the greatest college QB ever, Vince Young. To this day, sportscasters compare college QB’s to Young. He is the gold standard. One could argue UT won because of Young, not anything special the coaches did.
Brown has blind spots that are glaring to any football fan. He had no backup QB when the great Colt McCoy went down in the BCS championship game against Alabama in January 2010. And the QB play has been so bad this year it is doubtful that Garrett Gilbert would even play, much less start, for any other major team in the country. And, yes, you guessed it, Brown has no backup. The defense is a joke. Brown gets so cozy with his assistants he virtually never fires one, not even an offensive line coach who has under-performed for years. Cronyism is rampant in my opinion. And some of the comments Brown has made to the press this off year bring into question his sanity. Such as, the kids think they are entitled. It looks like to me the entitled ones are the pampered and over paid coaches. Another - he does not want to pull Gilbert because it sends the wrong message to the team. Actually it would send the right message – we want to win.
The 2010 Longhorn football team is beyond poor, it is pathetic on both offense and defense having gone from the national championship game 10 months ago to cellar dweller in the Big 12 South.
So my question for UT is: are you getting performance for pay? You pay top dollar and reward the coach with, in essence, tenure. Yet you have only two Big 12 championships to show for it. It is hard to imagine another program that has so consistently under-performed given the talent and facilities.
UT runs the very real risk of being viewed as a country club for coaches, which will eventually impact the charitable contributions that UT is dependent upon to maintain their top tier status as an academic institution.