Posts Tagged ‘BCS’

Follow-up: Debating Harbaugh’s Salary

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

Two weeks ago, I wrote a post entitled, “No, We Should Not Pay Jim Harbaugh More Money.” Not surprisingly, this generated a lively, and mostly fruitful, discussion that included a number of War and Peace-length comments. I want to take this opportunity to highlight some of the points from the comments and also offer a few more rebuttals.

But first, two important items of business:
1. Congratulations to the football team–they’re going to the Orange Bowl in Miami to take on my cousin’s beloved Virginia Tech Hokies.
2. Athletic Director Bob Bowlsby has already offered to “sweeten” Jim Harbaugh’s contract to try and convince him to stay.

Now, back to business. One popular argument in favor of raising Harbaugh’s salary is that it he brings in more money for the school (or, more accurately, the Athletic department, since both his salary and the resulting benefits are essentially self-contained within Athletics). As Tkim writes:

Football has the chance to fund every other program in the athletic department (if Josh, you would actually come to the games). The ROI on the investment is much higher with Harbaugh.

This is true, but using this as reasoning creates a problem. If what matters is the amount of money brought in, there are a number of other obvious ways we can increase this quantity. The first is obvious: we can stop holding our student-athletes to high academic standards. Every year, our athletics program turns away thousands of talented athletes because of insufficient academics. Accepting these athletes would undoubtedly make our football program better and therefore more lucrative, but does that mean we should do it?

My guess is that most, if not all, Stanford supporters would be against lowering academic standards because considerations outside of football are important. Harbaugh himself has been vocal about the importance of putting the student in student-athlete. At other schools, football players are students in name only (see: Heisman-trophy winner Cam Newton of Auburn). But that’s not adequate reason to say that we should allow that.

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No, Stanford Should Not Give Jim Harbaugh More Money

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

Since Stanford football coach Jim Harbaugh took the Cardinal from a lowly 1-11 to a bowl-bound, #4 ranked powerhouse, Stanford fans have been worried that he will take his coaching elsewhere. The NFL or other schools, such as his alma mater Michigan, are willing to pay him very large salaries to take the helm for another team. As such, supporters of Stanford football and pro-Harbaugh advocates have made clear the position that Stanford should do what it takes to keep Harbaugh as Stanford’s coach–or, in other words, give him more money with a big new contract.

This is the wrong thing to do. Harbaugh is an excellent football coach, but that does not mean Stanford should give him more money.

The most recent calls for paying Harbaugh more have come from Hoover Fellow Alvin Rabushka, as well as an online petition echoing similar claims. Rabushka claims:

Paying millions to a football coach, even one of the top three in the country, is not in keeping with Stanford’s educational values, even though Stanford football competes against top national programs. Don’t the players deserve the same first-rate instruction in football that students receive in the classroom?

While this argument certainly has merit, I believe it is founded on an assumption that is actually a misconception. Yes, Stanford tries to excel in everything it does. But giving a larger contract to Jim Harbaugh actually runs contrary to this aim.

If Stanford were to excel equally in all aspects, and adding more money to the football program–i.e. paying Harbaugh more than his current salary of $1.25 million per year, or nearly twice the salary of President Hennessy and 13 times as much as the average associate professor at Stanford–did not take away from any other piece of the University, then the argument rests on different grounds. But the university does not excel in all different aspects and there is already a huge disparity in the amount of attention, value, and funding given to some parts of the school over others. Giving more to Harbaugh would make the discrepancy even worse and reaffirm the idea that some students are more worthy than others.

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Stanford Bowl chances: where to read

Sunday, November 28th, 2010

After Stanford got a huge win against Oregon State yesterday, speculation is abound about what will happen next. Is Stanford going to make it to a BCS bowl? The AP poll pushed us up to 5th after LSU and Boise State lost, which might just be enough love from the human polls to get us to 4th and an automatic berth for a BCS bowl. But all of this is just me covering other people’s coverage and reporting, which are just as available to you. Here are the blogs and publications that I have been reading this season and will be following closely over the next few hours.

  • The Daily Axe. Their editor, Willys, has posted a few times for TUSB, and they’ve been following Stanford football all season
  • Go Mighty Card. A Stanford football blog
  • Rule of Tree. Another great Stanford sports blog. They already have some discussion up about bowl possibilities
  • PAC-10 Blog from ESPN. Ted Miller’s job is cover the PAC-10, and he loves Stanford football. Expect more of the hyperbole and optimism you get from other Stanford news sources. Brad Edwards also has a video outlining the situation pretty clearly
  • Stanford Daily. An article early yesterday outlined the bowl situation before our game. Considering that the Arkansas-LSU upset fell our way, it’s pretty convincing
  • BCS. Even with all the speculation, they really get to make the decisions. Keep an eye out for new rankings around 5PM west coast time
  • CBS bowl predictions. Between this and the Daily article, it sounds like they mostly have things figured out
  • College Hotline. Your college sports blog from the Mercury News. Predictions and an explanation already up. Articles about Stanford sports also available here
  • College sports from the SF Chronicle.
  • The Bootleg on Stanford sports
  • The Cardboard, a forum for Stanford fans

The Daily Axe’s Rose Bowl Dilemma

Saturday, October 16th, 2010
Rose Bowl

The Cardinal still have a realistic opportunity to make the Rose Bowl. (Image via Wikipedia)

[This post originally appeared on DailyAxe.com]

Every PAC-10 and Big Ten football team begins each season with the goal of reaching the Rose Bowl. In today’s college football culture, such a goal has nearly become quaint: teams willingly aim for the traditional standard of regional excellence rather than the moneyed-up, political maneuverings associated with the BCS National Championship Game. But now that the season if half completed, some teams are out of the hunt completely (we’re looking at you, Washington State), others hold only the faintest chances (UCLA, Arizona State), one team is the clear-cut favorite (Oregon) and the others have impossibly complicated scenarios with which to gain a ticket to Pasadena. So to give you an idea of Stanford’s Road to Pasadena and weed out some erroneous rumors, here is what would need to occur for the Cardinal to play in the Rose Bowl.

  1. Stanford has to win out. Sure, this isn’t mathematically necessary, but Oregon would have to lose at least 3 times in its last 6 games in order for Stanford to lose 1 more and make the Rose Bowl. Anyone who has watched the Ducks this season should know that they will not go .500 the rest of the way, especially with an upcoming 4 consecutive weeks of games against unranked opponents on the schedule. Even if Oregon did lose 3 games, another team–most likely Arizona–could step into the Rose Bowl slot if Stanford falters. (more…)