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College Football Players Get Fleeced As Coaches Get Filthy Rich

Lost in the shuffle of the Jim Harbaugh sweepstakes is the loot being talked about to coach a college football team.

Lost in the shuffle of the Jim Harbaugh sweepstakes is the loot being talked about to coach a college football team.

Granted, Harbaugh, the current San Francisco 49ers coach, is a tremendous coach and deserves to be well compensated.

But how can college players watch this unfold and not think: What about us?

It's an old story. Coaches get paid and the kids get stiffed. Somehow, the actual moneymakers — the players — are supposed to be satisfied with a degree, if they even earn one.


The difference now, however, is bigger than ever.


That's because the money now is over the top, it's being passed out in record numbers. Meanwhile, the student-athletes are being told they don't deserve a dime of all the money being passed back and forth between mostly old white men.

College football and basketball still being called amateur sports these days is the biggest con going in this country.

Nonetheless, there are conflicting reports about the actual amount of money the University of Michigan offered Harbaugh to circe back to Ann Arbor and take over the Wolverines.


Originally, CBS 5 in Arizona reported that it was a six-year, $48-million deal. It would make Harbaugh the highest-paid college football coach in the country (an average of $8.17 million per season), beating Alabama's Nick Saban by more than $1.21 million per season.

But on Thursday night, Fox Sports 1 reported that those figures for the deal are not accurate.


Either way, it's a ton of cash. So much, in fact, Harbaugh wouldn't just be the highest-paid college coach, but the highest-paid coach in all of football.

Yes, two NFL coaches make $8 million a season — Seattle's Pete Carroll and New Orleans' Sean Payton. But Harbaugh would make more.

New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who has won three Super Bowls, earns JUST $7.5 million a season.

The average NFL coach salary is around $4.8 million.

That's understandable. It's a professional league. The players make millions. The league is a $9 billion business. Hence, coaches should get a piece of the pie.



But in college football, which rakes in billions, everyone doesn't share in the profits.


Last year, according to the Department of Education, the University of Texas had a total revenue of $109 million, the biggest take in college football. Michigan was second with $81 million. U-M had a net revenue of $58 million after total expenses.

Last year, the NCAA men's basketball tournament pulled in $1.15 billion in TV ads. That's why more than both the NFL and NBA playoffs combined.

In college football, there are reports that Alabama, Ohio State and Oklahoma all had a surplus of over $20 million last season.

The point is simple. The college players deserve a share of all this money. It's a total injustice.


It's the reason why the players at Northwestern University were right in trying to unionize. We are still waiting for the results of the secret vote taken earlier this year.   

Either way, it appears as if Michigan isn't playing around and wants to bring one of their own back to campus – apparently, at any cost.

And it wouldn't be just any old "Michigan Man." It would mean bringing a talented and top-shelf coach to Michigan to turn around a program that has clearly gone to the dogs.

Harbaugh, who played at Michigan, did an incredible job at Stanford, turning that program from a laughingstock to a college football power. Stanford went 11-1 in 2010, his final season there.


Plus, Harbaugh took the 49ers to the Super Bowl in his second season there. In his first three seasons, Harbaugh took the 49ers to three straight conference championships, the first-ever coach to accomplish that in the NFL.


Harbaugh is worth whatever someone is willing to pay him  

On Thursday, when asked if he was contacted by Michigan, Harbaugh said. "As you know, I only talk about the job that I have. We've been together a long time. Always been my policy."

The bottom line is that Michigan needs to hit a home run here. They need to bring a big time coach to spark the program and get the alumni pumped to support Michigan again.

In the process, no one is saying Harbaugh doesn't deserve to get paid. It's just that it's as clear as ever that the players do too.  

Rob Parker is a columnist for The Shadow League. He is also an analyst for Fox Sports 1 in Los Angeles. He co-hosts The Odd Couple on Fox Sports Radio and is also an adjunct professor at the University of Southern California.