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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/6101/the-big-business-of-college-football/


January 5, 2007 by

Since economics and college athletics go together these days like post-dated stock options and 3-6 months in a minimum security prison, you ought to know about Mal Moore. Probably a fine man but tragically misplaced, economically speaking – as Athletic Director of the University of Alabama.

In this position, Mr. Moore spends University money like it was dust over an Alabama cotton field. First, eight months ago, he agrees to a 4M termination clause in the contract of our unsuccessful ex-coach. A week or so ago he fires that state employee, thereby enriching him with 4 million dollars of University money. The coach never was very good. Why big Mal contractually inserted that 4 million dismissal bonus is hard to understand – especially since he canned him only eight months later.

You’d think a 4 million dollar miscalculation would propel Moore out of management and back to locker room laundry duty. Nope, not in the incentiveless bureaucracy of the state. While we voters looked away, Mal – desperate for a new coach – makes headlines by hiring another coach – this one with a real flair for hypocracy, Nick Saban. Coach Saban, during the wooing process reassures his Miami Dolphin employer: “I’m not going to be the Alabama coach.” (Oh, if only broken promises were touchdowns.) You know the line – it usually involves family, country, church, etc. His employers shoulda winced. He was no Knute Rockne in Miami. He left the Dolphin program in ruins. Why will he do us different? He’ll get about 40 mil for 8 years or so, a figure which widened the eyes of coaches nationwide. (And made professors of Physics, English, and Chemistry et al lose their lunch in disgust. That’s maybe 30 times their rate.)

I’m sure Mal hasn’t forgotten his favorite fat termination penalty for the dog days when his selectee flunks out. (Wonder why we taxpayers never see the contract? The University of Alabama is a public institution – yes I understand the Athletic Department reigns, but still. Is it accessible? Sportswriters gossip about the contract but no paper prints it. Curious.)

Yeah, this new coach once won a national championship at LSU – and a lady in Gadsden once won the Publisher’s Clearing House lottery in 1996. But the last two years with the Dolphins, he’s 15-17. The Bear would blush.

This latest exuberance of Mal’s largess is headline news around the nation. What was his major in college? Generosity with a minor in Charity? It certainly wasn’t Economics.

And he must have flunked Football 101 because even us dumb fans understand that parity, due to NCAA regulations, now rules the gridiron. The coach’s hands – at least one of them – is tied behind his back. Dynasties are as dead as our backwoods hero, Bear Bryant.

But besides the antics of Big Spender Mal, and his colleagues, why are our colleges in the knock ‘em down entertainment business anyhow? Why not just dispense with the BS and join the World Federation of Wrestling? As for Moore, who according to all reports is a ethical individual – should’t he be doing more locker room laundry and drawing up fewer contracts. Even the football team gets only 4 chances at a first down and I I think MM has had his four.


David White January 5, 2007 at 12:12 pm

Hmmm, the Mises Institute is located in Auburn, and this piece is slamming Alabama’s athletic director.

I smell a rat. Or a jealous War Eagle. :-)

ted roberts January 5, 2007 at 1:27 pm

David, no, no. I’m almost an Alabama fan – sent my son there. the incomptetency of the AD bugs me. A freshman business major could do a better job, if the fundraising wasn’t part of the job description. regards ted

David White January 5, 2007 at 2:08 pm

Just kidding, Ted, hence the smiley face.

And believe me, having watched Alabama’s football program self-destruct over the past few years (from my perch on the outskirts of Chattanooga), it’s clear to me that their athletic department’s got to take matters into its own hands by following in Florida’s State’s footsteps:


Gary Halpin January 27, 2007 at 5:41 pm

Being a graduate of the fine Florida State University (did I mention ‘fine’), I take great resemblance to that Onion article!

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