Posts Tagged ‘jim harbaugh’

Andrew Luck Returning to School: Is it a Bad Thing?

Friday, January 7th, 2011

Could Luck be on the same path as Matty Lite?

As you probably already know, star quarterback Andrew Luck is returning to school for in all likelihood his last hurrah with Stanford Football. If the school wasn’t already practically buzzing with that Orange Bowl high, it sure will be now. That loud party this weekend? Andrew Luck’s coming back. Those three guys passed out in that hedge? Andrew Luck’s coming back. Your roommate getting lucky and you getting sexiled? Andrew Luck’s coming back to Stanford.

However, a moment of silence as this decision amounts to a punch in the gut for Carolina Panther fans looking for a silver lining to an otherwise abysmal season. It’s their own fault for not being raucous and obnoxiously drunk at home games like proper fans (irony). Who knows, maybe they’ll be able to get him next year.

This decision is part of an older argument about the dangers of underclassmen passing up guaranteed money for more school. Did Andrew Luck make a good decision? So far, everyone at Stanford seems to think that Andrew Luck’s return is unquestionably good. Is it really? This post will analyze these burning questions, as well as touch on the Harbaugh situation. First off…

Could Andrew Luck returning for the 2011-2012 season be bad for Stanford?

Short Answer: No.

Long Answer: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

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What Do You Think: Andrew Luck Returning to Finish His Degree

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

Andrew Luck, Stanford quarterback/Heisman runner-up/Orange Bowl MVP, has chosen to put off the NFL for another year to stay at Stanford and finish his degree in architectural design. If he were to go, he would have been the presumptive number 1 choice, probably earning more than $50 million guaranteed right away.

What do you think?

Is Andrew Luck's Decision to Stay at Stanford the Right One?

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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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