Good work if you can get it

If aliens landed on Earth and opened today’s edition of “USA Today” to Page 8C, I think they’d hop right back in their cute little spaceships and fly away, screaming.

And I’m not so sure I wouldn’t want to jump on board with them.

The newspaper came out with its annual list of salaries for major-college football coaches. And if this doesn’t show how out of balance we are as a society, I don’t know what does.

This isn’t a knock on coaches. They have a difficult job and one, usually, that doesn’t last for long. They are required to work long hours, although I’m not sure that’s simply a fall-out from a “Keeping Up With the Jonses” attitude that permeates all across the football

Mack Brown of Texas is the nation’s second-highest paid major college football coach. But he hasn’t raised crystal in a while now.

coaching landscape.

Show me a coach who doesn’t claim to work 14-hour days and I’ll show you the first coach I’ve heard of who doesn’t make that claim.

College coaches help universities make money. Universities need all the money they can get. A successful football program is not only good for the bank account, but for the prestige of a college.

I get all of that. I really do. And I respect coaches.

But Alabama’s Nick Saban makes nearly $5.5 million per year, with an opportunity to haul in another $700,000 in bonuses.

Mack Brown of Texas makes $5.3 million, with another $800,000 on the table. Do they make a table, by the way, that can hold 800 grand?

Ohio State’s Urban Meyer, Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops, Oregon’s Chip Kelly, Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy, South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier, Iowa’s Kirk Farentz, Michigan’s Brady Hoke, LSU’s Les Miles, TCU’s Gary Patterson, Auburn’s Gene Chizik (for a while longer, at least) and Arizona State’s Todd Graham all make $3 million or more.

The average salary for a major college football coach, according to “USA Today,” is $1.64 million.

Considering football coaches apparently don’t have much free time to spend any of that money, it seems exorbitant, doesn’t it?

Am I jealous?

You’re darn right I’m jealous. When I was a kid, nobody told me that someday coaches would be making CEO money. Come to think of it, I doubt that I would have even known as a kid what a CEO was.

Coaching was never on my potential career list. But it should have been.

The lowest paid FBS coach in the country, by the way, is Todd Berry from Louisiana-Monroe. That’s the team, you’ll remember, that opened the 2012 season with a shocking upset over then-No. 8 Arkansas, 34-31 in overtime. Since that win, Monroe is just 6-4. Berry, by the way, is making only $250,000 per year.


Saban pays that to have his shoes shined.

Kansas State’s Bill Snyder, by the way, is making $2.2 million, an out-and-out bargain when compared to the salaries of the highest-paid coaches. And Kansas’ Charlie Weis is making $2.5 million. I’ll let you discuss how Weis, 1-10 at Kansas, can be making more than Snyder. It’s pretty obvious how that discussion will go.

In its story on football coaching salaries, “USA Today” points out that just six years ago, 42 coaches were making at least $1 million a year. Now, 42 are making at least $2 million. Salaries are up 12 percent since last season and more than 70 percent since 2006, which is when the newspaper began tracking coaches’ compensation.

Isn’t this crazy? Or am I crazy for thinking this is crazy? Either way, something is crazy here.

“Coaches’ pay has even outpaced the pay of corporate executives, who have drawn the ire of Congress and the public because of their staggering compensation packages,” the newspaper reports. “Between 2007 and 2011, CEO pay – including salary, stock, options, bonuses and other pay – rose 23 percent, according to Equilar, an executive compensation data firm. In that same period, coaches’ pay increased 44 percent.”

Kind of makes that 1.5 percent raise you got at the factor this year seem inconsequential, huh?

Shrinking state education budgets have caused many public schools to tighten their belts when it comes to spending. For everything, apparently, other than the football coaches.

The paper points out that former Oklahoma defensive coordinator Brent Venables, a Salina native who moved from Oklahoma to Clemson after the 2011 season, doubled his salary in the process, to $800,000.

“It’s embarrassing to a certain degree,” Venables said.

More power to these guys, I suppose. In a struggling economy, with bleak employment news everywhere you turn, coaches have managed to perpetually strike gold. At the blackjack table of life, they keep drawing 21.

But we accept it as the American way. Who am I to rain on the torrential downpour of money that is given to college football coaches? More power to them. You guys are the best. A little help here?