FY10-11: Coaches Salaries
LSU is certainly sensitive to the current budget situation affecting higher education and the apparent dichotomy created by the salaries awarded to coaches of its athletic teams. Yet it is important to note that no monies used for LSU Athletics come from state tax dollars. In fact, the LSU Athletic Department annually assists financially with the mission of the University by contributing to academic programs and campus maintenance. The Athletic Department provides more than $2 million in recurring annual transfers to the University as well as assistance with special projects such as $4.5 million for a new band hall and $1 million to assist with the construction of a new Business School.
According to a study by USA Today, LSU is one of only two universities in the nation that uses no state financial support to fund its athletics program. LSU Athletics would not have this kind of success, and be able to contribute to the academic mission of the University, without paying competitive salaries to hire and retain the best coaches in the country. It is not a coincidence that the last five national champions in football have one thing in common: coaches that are among the highest compensated in the nation. And the investment in facility improvements over the last decade is another common denominator among ultra-successful programs.
Hiring and retaining the best coaches enables LSU to sustain success throughout its athletics program. That sustained athletic success has garnered passionate fan support, enabling LSU to maintain a self-funded athletics program. To reduce our investment in top-tier coaches would result in less success, fewer fans, reduced revenue and fewer financial transfers to the University. The University invests zero tax dollars into Athletics and gets millions in return, a positive and productive outcome for LSU.
It is truly regrettable that we are having discussions about eliminating jobs on the LSU campus as we continue to grapple with budgets cuts to higher education. But LSU Athletics has shown us the recipe for excellence – invest in human and physical resources. If only the University was afforded the necessary funds to invest in more premier researchers, adequately fund our instructor workforce and improve campus facilities at the rate that athletic programs across the South have done, LSU could achieve the sustained academic success it enjoys in the athletic arena.