Don’t put KU with Mangino

With Kansas State University and the University of Kansas both facing the prospect of paying millions of dollars to disgraced coaches, Kansas has the incentive to lead the nation in a head-to-toe reform of the role money plays in college athletics.
KU football coach Mark Mangino faces charges of abusing players both physically and mentally. He may or may not be fired. It is no accident that the headline-grabbling accusations come at the end of a season gone spectaculary sour. But even if Mangino and his players had lived up to their preseason ratings, it would still have been appropriate to ask why, in the name of all that is reasonable and proper, does KU pay a coach $2 million a year — and promise to do so for three years running?
The answer appears to be that star coaches who produce star teams bring in tons of money through ticket sales, commercial endorsements and, primarily, television revenue. It is all about money. It doesn’t appear to matter that the coaches at powerhouse schools earn more than the combined value of the scholarships their players are provided. Or that they earn six times or more what their universities pay their chief executives.
What does it say about a university when a guy who teaches over-sized kids how to play a game earns 10 times more than a Nobel Laureate who is a department chairman at the same school?

UNIVERSITIES aren’t all about money. They certainly are not all about intercollegiate sports. So when the face of KU becomes Mr. Mangino and that of K-State looks just like Ron Prince, it’s time to shuffle the deck and deal a new hand.
Gilbert M. Gaul, a New Jersey writer, has thought long and hard on the subject and has some suggestions.
First, the universities should take back control of their athletic programs. They have allowed them to become independent, “like stand-alone entertainment divisions. They have separate budgets, negotiate their own TV deals and, in some cases, employ hundreds of coaches and staff.”
Moreover, Congress has made things worse by essentially exempting sports income from taxation.
“Boosters and donors benefit from generous tax deductions when they buy the best seats or endow an athletic scholarship. That’s right: colleges now endow their quarterbacks and linebackers the same way they do a distinguished chair of American literature.
“If college presidents really wanted to halt the college sports machine,” Gaul wrote in a recent New York Times essay, “they could try two options. They could insist that athletic departments operate within their university budgets, like the English or biology departments; or they could ask Congress to rescind the tax breaks on the commercial income earned by athletic programs.”
If athletic departments did operate within their budgets, as a business school, a law school or an engineering school must, then million-dollar-a-semester coaches would vanish like a bad dream.
Why can’t the intercollegiate leagues require that very reasonable discipline? Why don’t the universities themselves decide that serving as recruiters and trainers for the pro teams shouldn’t be their primary mission?

— Emerson Lynn, jr.