Rants by Mac: How much does loyalty cost?

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I love college sports and am a fan of my alma mater, Michigan State University. I still watch a game of professional baseball or football occasionally, but the enthusiasm for professional sports has waned in recent years. Maybe getting older lessens the thrill of the game but, for the most part, I think it’s the money.

This week the Texas Rangers signed a shortstop I’ve never heard of on a 10-year, $ 325 million contract. Wow !! In college, children play for the sake of the game; they seem to have a commitment and loyalty that can’t be found among the pros.

But wait. College sport is big business too. Michigan State University football head coach Mel Tucker just signed a 10-year, $ 95 million contract to continue coaching the Spartans.

When Mark Dantonio retired in 2019, after 13 seasons and the most coaching wins in MSU football history, MSU hired Tucker, 48. Tucker had exactly twelve games of experience as a college head coach, leading the Colorado Buffalos to a 5-7 record in one season in Boulder.

Tucker said he was not interested in leaving Colorado. He was making $ 2.4 million and loved it there. But MSU needed a new trainer and offered Tucker $ 33 million for six years. Tucker’s loyalty quickly shifted to East Lansing.

This year, Tucker suddenly became a hot property again. Louisiana State University came calling in Tucker’s unexpected Spartan second season. The LSU openings forced two wealthy MSU backers to fork out money to get Tucker to stay in East Lansing for the next 10 years. Tucker decided to stay.

LSU chose Brian Kelly, hired this week. Kelly has coached Notre Dame for the past 12 years, but has willingly shifted his loyalty to Baton Rouge to $ 95 million over 10 years – that salary could make even Louisiana attractive.

But is a 12-7 record at MSU (17-14 overall) worth $ 95 million? Granted, Tucker’s team beat Michigan both years, and that can be worth a million or two for the Spartan alumni. But let’s put Tucker’s contract in perspective.

It goes without saying that every employee should be free to seek the best job they can get. And we understand that the donors provided the funds to keep Tucker, so there is less monetary impact on the university. Corn…

Dantonio reached the college football championship and beat Michigan eight of 13 tries. They’ve only beaten Ohio State three times, but it’s better than any other Big Ten team during that time. In his senior year, he was paid half of what Tucker currently earns. It will take another 3 to 4 years to assess Tucker’s level of greatness.

In fact, Tucker now gets 97% of what Nick Saban earns in Alabama, where Saban won six national championships. The list of college coaches doing more than Tucker is short: Nick Saban.

And think of his fellow MSU coach, Tom Izzo. Izzo coached MSU basketball for 27 years, has 648 wins, more Big Ten championships than any other team, and a national championship. He earns $ 4.2 million, a good salary, but …

According to the USA Today salary database, Michigan State University’s faculties (full-time faculty) teach for an average salary of $ 106,315.

Tucker earns $ 182,692 PER WEEK, an increase of 1,300% from Nick Saban’s second year at MSU in 1999. The Bureau of Labor Statistics sets the annual inflation rate since 1999 at 2.33%.

If Tucker’s contract money were available to academics, MSU could hire 89 full-time professors at current salaries.

It’s great that Tucker got a great deal, and he was generous with donors to produce the funds he needed to stay loyal to MSU. But has sport become so big, so important, that our priorities have become skewed? After all, it’s just a game.

Maybe loyalty shouldn’t come at such a high cost. Maybe we need another physics teacher. Go green!

Curt MacRae is a resident of Coldwater and posts articles here on the first and third Saturdays of each month. Send your comments to rantsbymac@gmail.com.


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