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This University of North Carolina professor is certainly correct about her school; it cares far more for lower-ranked coaches than it does for philosophy professors… Yet she adds:

“It is what it is. It gives you an idea of where society places its value.”

Both of which are curious things to say. It is what it is — meaning nothing to be done… I wonder if she takes the same approach to her work in economics… unemployment rates, gross wealth disparities… they are what they are…

And then… way to blame it on society! As you may know, UD asks her students to avoid, in their papers, any generalizations about ‘society,’ because they almost always sound dumb…

In this case, for instance, society does not pay assistant university coaches hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill does. Many universities do not pay their coaches in the way UNC pays its coaches. As Balaban points out in her initial comment, UNC could give a shit about the life of the mind. Its resources go to athletics, and, with this latest scandal, to athletics-related public relations and litigation.

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6 Responses to ““We obviously put a very high value on assistant coaches, more so than we would put on philosophy professors,” Balaban said.”

  1. Stephen Karlson Says:

    I expect better of economics professors, particularly at solid departments such as North Carolina’s (we’ve had a few of their faculty through as speakers). Economists, in particular, ought to understand the argument that adjusted for risk, assistant coaches cannot do better than economics professors. Yes, the successful assistant coaches can have short spells of high income, but subject to termination at any time, and frequently after a long apprenticeship holding tackling dummies at East Millpond High. But — to note a frequent UD point, most Ph.D.s secure a tenured appointment someplace eventually.

    Economists also, in particular, have some understanding of what a positional arms race is, and why the use of resources to secure athletic position is likely to be unprofitable. But you don’t see many economics professors augmenting the supply of football coaches (which will in time depress wages) by trading in their SPSS and Maple V for a tackling dummy at East Millpond High.

  2. Townsend Harris Says:

    “UD asks her students to avoid … generalizations”
    “society does not pay” “[UNC] does”

    The shenanigans in higher education are making UD sound like a Marxist.

  3. GTWMA Says:

    Given this table
    http://www.usatoday.com/sports/college/football/2009-coaches-contracts-database.htm

    and story

    http://www.usatoday.com/sports/college/football/2010-03-09-coaches-salaries_N.htm?csp=obinsite

    it’s fair to say that society pays them more…especially since their salaries are heavily subsidized through public subsidies to not-for-profit universities,

  4. AYY Says:

    UD, I seem to remember something about UNC’s situation being very bizarre.
    As I remember the story, a donor made a bequest to UNC, the terms of which were that half goes to education and half goes to augment the salaries of football coaches. Now why anyone in his right mind would care about the salaries of football coaches after he dies is something that’s beyond my ability to explain, but that’s how I remember it. Don’t have the link.

  5. Margaret Soltan Says:

    I’ll look for that, AYY. It’s not ringing any bells.

  6. AYY Says:

    I’ll try to do this as a link:
    http://tarheelblue.cstv.com/sports/m-footbl/spec-rel/090806aac.html
    The gift was from the John William Pope Foundation

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