But it’s football! Football’s different!

Times are tough in Texas, especially for public schools and universities. Everyone is being asked to make do with less. Well, almost everyone.

Several professors at a [Texas Tech] faculty senate meeting Wednesday questioned the university’s January announcement it will increase [head football coach Tommy] Tuberville’s annual pay by $500,000 through 2015, one of the university’s few raises as it braces for lawmakers to cut tens of millionsof dollars from the university’s revenue.

The five-year $11 million contract guarantees Tuberville at least $2 million per year, up from $1.5 million in the original contract he signed with Tech in 2010.


Richard Meek, president of Tech’s faculty senate, sees both sides of the debate. While he understands how competitive the NCAA coaching market can be, he also relates to his fellow faculty members who have been asked to take a pay freeze in 2011.

Tech nixed $3 million in faculty raises to absorb an 8-percent reduction in state funding already in effect, and the freeze doesn’t show any sign of thaw in early budget drafts out of Austin.

“If that was me, I would have turned it down,” said Julian Spallholz, a faculty senator and human sciences professor. “I would have been embarrassed (to accept the raise).”

Others later said the raise shows a priority on athletics over academics.

Meek, like [Tech president Guy] Bailey, said some frustration may stem from confusion about how Tech pays Tuberville’s salary. Many fail to understand that a funding wall separates academics and athletic budgets, Bailey said, so the raise does not directly siphon from academic coffers. Each year, however, academics does subsidize $2.5 million of the athletic department’s budget. Bailey said Tech has reduced that to $2.25 million this year to reflect state cuts and he hopes to slowly wean athletics off that subsidy entirely over the next few years.

But, he added, his office first needs time to untangle federal and NCAA red tape tied to the subsidy.

If nothing else, the timing of this sure sucks. You can be sure that this sort of drama is going to play out elsewhere as well. I’ve already seen a bunch of griping in comments on stories and posts about the looming public education cuts about athletic facilities and coaches’ salaries and whatnot. However you view this situation, the fact remains that as with the rest of the budget, some people are being told they must sacrifice a lot, while others are being asked to do very little, if anything. You better believe that’s going to lead to resentment.

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One Response to But it’s football! Football’s different!

  1. Ron in Houston says:

    Well, IF he wins, he’ll likely pay for his own raise.

    However, this is Tech we’re talking about. (Let the wars begin…)

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