Kentucky coaches have benefitted greatly from growing profits in NCAA athletics, particularly high-grossing ones like football and men’s basketball. But those respective coaches aren’t the only ones getting bigger checks.
In 2006, men’s basketball coach Tubby Smith made $2.6 million compared to the $8.6 million that John Calipari made in 2016. Between 2006 and 2016, earnings for UK’s track and field coach went from $108,000 to $429,000. For men’s tennis, the coach’s pay increased from $122,000 to $230,000 and for gymnastics, $112,000 to $252,000.
All coaches made more than an average UK professor’s salary, and despite a recession in the observed time period in which pay for the average American worker increased between 0.7 and 13 percent, Kentucky athletics coaches saw a pay increase well over 200 percent.
Some of these increases happened with good reason, as football and men’s basketball are highly lucrative sports for UK. Others argue, however, that instead of significantly increasing all coaches’ pay, extra earnings should go to the players who make the programs what they are.
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