A familiar story is taking shape in Athens, Georgia, where the local semi-pro football team again has failed to meet expectations. After a 27-3 loss to Florida, fans are calling for the head of the coach, Mark Richt.

Wrote Jeff Schultz of the AJC: “The circumstances at Georgia suggest this: Mark Richt has failed. He should not be back as Georgia’s coach next season. … It’s because with no drop in resources or support from administration and with a never-ending tap of recruits, Richt has failed to build momentum and take advantage of a run-down SEC East Division.”

Good thing for Coach Richt that nobody cares what newspapers or columnists think.

Unfortunately for the coach and his immediate bosses, alumni and big donors also seem restive. Time to follow the money … and it starts with buyer’s remorse.

This past off-season, Richt demanded – and got — a contract extension through 2019, at $4 million per season. Wall Street might not blink at that kind of buyout for a CEO, but it’s stiff by college football standards.

As a member of the prestigious 16-team Southeastern Conference, Georgia brings in almost enough revenue to support its lofty but often futile athletic ambitions. Commend the Bulldogs, because the financial picture is far worse at other schools.

Many in the top ranks of the NCAA use general funds to subsidize chases for glory in football and basketball. That means the budget is being balanced on the backs of students and taxpayers.

A shame, but nothing ever changes. Until it does.

USA Today regularly updates this chart of athletic department finances: http://sports.usatoday.com/ncaa/finances/

Advertisements