Anybody who had thought that the Penn State child rape scandal would roll back the noxious big money culture of college sports has now been shown to be mistaken.
In that scandal, a popular assistant coach was charged with sexually abusing eight boys — and he is said to have gotten away with it because officials on campus who knew or suspected didn’t stop him, presumably to protect the big money football program.
President Obama said this month in the wake of the scandal : “It’s a good time for us to do some soul-searching — every institution, not just Penn State — about what our priorities are, and making sure that we understand that our first priority is protecting our kids.”
Well, Ohio State officials soul searched and decided they needed to hire someone who could turn the football team into a national champ. So they lured Urban Meyer, the former coach of the champion Florida Gators, with a six-year contract worth at least $24.25 million — without millions of dollars in perks.
There’s the use of a private jet. And bonuses for lots of things, including high graduation rates for players, getting the team into a national championship, and more.
As a way of comparison: Ohio State’s president, E. Gordon Gee, earned $1.32 million in 2010, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education.
Of course there will be those who say that Meyer should get whatever he can and that Ohio State has to pay what the market will bear.
Unfortunately, the last few years of financial turmoil around the world has revealed just how nonsensical the market actually is.
The Penn State scandal felled legendary coach Joe Paterno; forced out the school’s popular president, Graham Spanier; sparked a gaggle of investigations; led to the arrest of the assistant coach, Jerry Sandusky; and sullied the reputations of others on campus who supposedly knew but did not force Sandusky to stop.
If all of that can’t make a school rethink just how important it is pay a football coach gadzillions of dollars, then it’s hard, sadly, to think of what might.
Follow The Answer Sheet every day by bookmarking http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet. And for admissions advice, college news and links to campus papers, please check out our Higher Education page. Bookmark it!