Oklahoma knows what it's doing. Bob Stoops is about to become the game's first $5 million coach (with bonuses by 2011).
I have no problem with that. You shouldn't either. You pay for victories. You pay for championships. You pay because your university has not been disgraced. That's the way it is these days. Heck, didn't Phil Fulmer get a raise last year?
There will be those who ask: Where was Bob Stoops going? Nowhere that I can see but sometimes it pays to keep your most important employees happy.
Oklahoma knows what it is doing because it is rewarding people for specific accomplishments. The entire staff received raises. By percentage, offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson topped the list getting a 35 percent raise from $285,000 to $385,000. Quarterbacks coach Josh Heupel was second going from $156,000 to $200,000 (28.2 percent).
What do these two guys have in common? They helped run the highest scoring offense since Minnesota in 1904. Their quarterback won the Heisman Trophy. Their team won a sixth Big 12 title this decade. Yeah, I'd say they earned it.
That raises the question: If Stoops is worth $5 million per year, where does that put Urban Meyer? Florida's coach is going to get another raise after winning two championships in three years. He already makes at least $3.5 million per year. And what about Nick Saban? The school is in the process of extending his average $4 million per year. LSU's Les Miles reportedly passed Saban last year making $1,000 more per year than the conference leader.
What happened to cost cutting? It doesn't touch football.
• Before you start, howling, yes, I do remember the Big Red Motors scandal at Oklahoma. Yes, that was embarrassing but the school was out front on it. Plus, Stoops showed some stones by immediately kicking Rhett Bomar and J.D. Quinn off the team. That is one smudge and in no way resembles the frat house that Barry Switzer ran during his heyday.
But let's not get all high and mighty here. Schools still pay for wins.
• For fun, see how your salary compares to Saban's with this salary calculator.
• Heat-stroke related deaths are up according to the National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research center at the University of North Carolina. We're way ahead of you. I reported in May that "exertional sickling" a complication of sickle cell trait, is now the leading cause of death of NCAA football players this decade. Sickling is caused by overextertion without proper acclimation to the conditions.
All of the deaths have come in practice or in conditioning, not in games. Five of the 10 deaths in Division I-A football this decade have been caused by sickle cell trait. There have been 25 heat-related deaths overall in football in the last 10 years, according to Dr. Frederick Mueller, who wrote the report.
"This number is unacceptable since heat-stroke deaths are preventable with the proper precautions," Frederick said.
In a recent study, only 64 percent of Division I-A schools even test for sickle cell trait. You can bet that a lot fewer than that know how to accilimate sickle cell trait athletes to extreme heat during conditioning.
Why doesn't this bother anyone else?
• Came off the road, had a lot to do, fighting a cold. Ended up watching Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett retrospectives on Thursday night.