Local News

Former UNC President, Others Criticize High Coaching Salaries

Coaches make millions at local universities, while educators have much lower salaries. Officials say the wage gap comes down to who represents the school nationally, as well as where the funds come from.

Posted Updated

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — When former NFL coach Butch Davis was introduced as the new head football coach at the University of North Carolina earlier this week, his $1.7 million salary raised eyebrows, including those of former UNC president Bill Friday.

"It's disappointing to me, because I wanted my university to be the one leading in what most people thinks should be done," Friday told WRAL on Thursday. He was one of dozens of people who attended a lecture on the relationship between athletics and academics.

Simply put, UNC professor Dr. Hodding Carter III said universities are losing sight of their moral compass.

"'Forget about values' they seem to say. The point of the exercise is to win and win big," Carter told the audience.

Carter is a member of the Knight Commission, a group that looks at intercollegiate sports. He said that he believes many university presidents are signing off on million-dollar deals because of pressure from board of trustee members and alumni.

"Some get on the board precisely because they think the role of the university is to win 28 games in a row and four bowl games," Carter said.

Athletic directors said the high coaches salaries are market-driven, and that its worth it to attract a high caliber of talent. Great coaches, they said, sell out stadiums, and some even become the face for the university.

However, Friday said universities should get their priorities in order.

"Why should we be paying an athletic person 10 times the salary of a tenured professor at Chapel Hill?" he asked the audience.

Both Friday and Carter said college sports has become a big business and a booming entertainment industry. However, they also said that education and universities are paying the price.

Friday said he blames television networks for turning college sports into big business. He said it would probably take an entire major athletic conference, such as the Atlantic Coast Conference or the Southeastern Conference, turning down Sunday night games and other network deals to get the spending under control.


Copyright 2023 by Capitol Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.