Monday, January 03, 2005

College football hangover (and boo$ter$)

I should be worn out on college football at this point, but Selena Roberts of the New York Times has written an intriguing two-part series about the boosters behind several programs over the last couple of days. How much influence, how much control do these wealthy, power-hungry contributors exert over their beloved football teams?

At Auburn, one booster (who has contributed millions of dollars) has interviewed coaches without the consent of the athletic department and has organized movements to hire and fire them, as well. He also appears to be bankrolling the team chaplain who counsels the players.

Who helps fund the multi-million dollar salaries head football coaches are now earning, such as the $14 million deal Urban Meyer received to leave Utah for Florida? Or the 10-year, $26 million extension Mack Brown got at Texas (even before beating Michigan in the Rose Bowl)?

I'm sure it's naive to think that this hasn't always been going on, but the money invested in these football programs is reaching mountainous heights. And when people are contributing millions of dollars, they won't be content to just sit back and let a coach and athletic director do their jobs.