The monetary worth of head coaches’ salaries has been rising for years. It has reached the point where the top coaches are making about the same as NBA role players. Dabo Swinney tops the list at a colossal almost $10,000,000 per year. These higher wages have made people question whether it’s an appropriate use of a university’s funds. In some states, the highest-paid employee happens to be the university’s football coach. You can imagine how people outside the realm of sports feel about hearing this type of statistic.
The idea had become a trendy debate, but it reached new heights a couple of weeks ago when it was brought up at a congressional hearing. A Power 5 university chancellor and one US senator stood in favor of the idea. It’s not a surprise this topic has become a heated issue around the same time as the idea of student-athletes getting paid, becoming more likely. After all, these universities could use the money from these monstrous contracts to pay the kids putting their bodies on the line.
But enforcing this cap would require a lot of work. You’d need an antitrust law exemption to make this particular idea work. It’d give universities the power to curb head coaches’ ever-growing salaries and use these funds elsewhere.
Why Would an Antitrust Law Exemption be Required?
If the NCAA attempted this idea, it’d have to deal with the previous precedent set on the matter. It’s not the first time they’ve tried something similar to capping head coaching salaries. The NCAA attempted to limit lower-level assistant coaches’ salaries to $12,000 per year during the early 90s. This action ended with a judge telling them they were violating antitrust laws, which put a massive roadblock into future similar activities.
It also put quite a massive dent into their funds as they were ordered to pay those assistants $66 million in damages. More importantly, future stifling of competition within the coaching marketplace was now considered to be unlawful. As a result, the NCAA needs to get an exemption to this previous decision, allowing them to cap head coaches’ salaries.
Acquiring one of these exemptions doesn’t seem too likely, either, considering the rarity that they’re obtained. The NCAA would have to make a substantial argument based around losing money and revenue because of incoming paying student-athlete regulations. Therefore, an antitrust law exemption for caping coaching contracts would be needed to compensate for this loss of funds.
It’s hard to think this argument will have much standing, given how much these universities make off College Football and other revenue sources. They can easily find a way to keep paying coaches higher salaries and players a reasonable sum. It’s probably why the NCAA hasn’t made a huge push already. After all, any College Football fan can quickly tell you how shady this organization has been over these last few decades. The NCAA will do anything to increase their power over college sports and their respective athletes or coaches.