Week 14 of the college football season seems to be – for a handful of schools – fire your coach week because your record is poor.
The coach is in charge of student-athletes who are pretty much volunteering to play football in exchange for an almost fully paid scholarship. The replacement coach almost always is under contract at another school and has to break that agreement to move. Big time football and basketball schools act like professional franchises when it comes to finding a new coach.
Getting a coach to break a contract and start a new job immediately is no problem, but that does not happen to a star, every day or reserve player. Those student-athletes really cannot get out of a contract with the school, even if they are volunteers who happens to play a sport. The players looking to switch schools may be forced to sit out a year and giving up a year’s playing eligibility.
The University of Texas fired Charlie Strong and replaced him with Houston coach Tom Herman. It was not cheap to get Herman out of Houston but money isn’t all that much of a problem for the University of Texas. Despite being part of a college, the University of Texas sports program is a professional program in all ways except one: the players don’t get paid.
Herman is getting $25 million over five years according to various reports, Texas is sending Houston a $2.5 million dollar thank you to pay for Herman’s remaining years on his contract with that school. Strong is still owed $10.7 million. All of those problems have been solved with money which in Texas comes from television, about $30 million annually, marketing partners, boosters and yes stadium revenues.
Coaches are free to break contracts, student-athletes cannot easily get out of their agreements. Amateur sports? No, college sports is a business with student-athletes getting the short end of the stick.
By Evan Weiner For The Politics Of Sports Business
This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, Evan Weiner.