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Thursday, March 22, 2007

G for the money

I like women's basketball. I really do. It is entertaining and since Duke has been pretty good in recent years, I can even have a rooting interest.

Here's what's not so cool and big pet peeve for me-- women's college basketball salaries. Guess how many women's college basketball programs make money. Guess? Remember that almost every top 25 program plays in packed arenas with big games on national television. Done Guess? Did you guess 20, 40? 60?

Here's the answer... TWO.. and barely. Uconn and Tennessee, two powerhouses who sell out 20,000 person arenas on a weekly basis. And Tennessee barely makes any money.

Why is this important and why do I care? Because over the past few weeks, several high profile women's college basketball jobs have opened up and Duke coach Gail Goestenkors has been named as a candidate for many of them. As well she should since she has led Duke to four final fours in the past eight years and this year's team is ranked #1 in the nation.

Coach G currently makes between $250-300K, based on recent estimates, well below the $1MM the UConn and Tennessee coaches make and well below what the likes of Texas, LSU and Michigan will be offering for a top coach. Many Duke women's fans are upset that G will bolt for more $$ and are urging Joe Alleva and Dick Brodhead to give me a big raise.

I will be very disappointed if Duke ponies up more dough to keep Coach G. Women's basketball loses $$ at Duke, despite an outstanding team. Given the dynamics of sports, this is unlikely to change anytime soon. Since there is only really one sport providing $$ for Duke Athletics, it is basically a zero-sum game for non-revenue sports. Every additional dollar you give Coach G will be a dollar taken away from the swimming, lacrosse and wrestling teams. I don't think thats a good trade.

I don't wish Coach G any ill will. If she can make more dough, she should go for it. I am sure that Duke will have people lined up the door to fill G's shoes and coach a perenniel top 10 program.
My response: You Go, Girl. Literally.

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