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Opening day ...

'Tis August, everything is in full bloom, and we are ready to throw out our first bawl.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Like practically everyone in sports, we love all the games and all the people who play them, manage them, write about them, or just simply watch them.

But we remain bewildered by too many of the things that are happening out there, starting with the incredible amounts of money that are being poured into the construction of new stadiums and gymnasiums, the restoration of old playing areas, and the unbelievable salaries being paid to the athletes, coaches, and everyone else involved in the presentation of sports.

On the days that salaries go unmentioned, we have to derive our entertainment from the flux of charming reports on the drug scene, sex scene, drunk-driving episodes, diploma mills, graduation rates, and obituaries.

How does one relate to all of this? You don't. You sit and wonder.

Where does all that money come from, and how long is it going to last? History informs us that it has gone on forever, but then our common sense tells us it's impossible ... but that it probably will go on indefinitely.

So figure it all out. We can't.

A lot of years ago, maybe the best assistant coach in Major League Baseball told us that he was making $18,000 a year and that he was putting in for a raise to $25,000.

"I don't really expect to be paid that kind of money," he told us, "but it's a test. What do you think I am really worth? I'd have accepted $20,000. What I didn't expect was to be completely ignored. The only thing I could do was to look for another job."

Today, he'd be worth about $10 million. How do you reconcile a 200% difference in salary?

According to the charts published in the newspapers, the six top coaching salaries in both professional football and basketball range from $1,500,000 to $3,100,000.

The salaries of the top players could be anything. There is no such thing as a "scale." The journeymen in baseball make about a million dollars a year, while the superstars get numbers you can't believe, like $225 million (the New York Yankees third baseman) and the $18.5 million given to a 44-year-old (seven-time Cy Young award winner) pitcher who had to be dragged out of retirement in May and given a month to get into shape.

Who knows how much of salaries come in the form of bonuses? Like, say, the deal in Urban Meyer's contract with the U. of Florida. According to USA Today, the Gators' football coach was rewarded for winning the NCAA Championship in this fashion:

* $37,500 for getting the Gators to the SEC title game.

* $137,500 for winning the SEC title game.

* $50,000 for reaching the BCS title game.

* $100,000 for winning the BCS title game.

They call such crackerjacks "on-the-field performance bonuses." It is very nice work if you can get it.
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Title Annotation:HERE BELOW
Author:Masin, Herman L.
Publication:Coach and Athletic Director
Date:Aug 1, 2007
Words:505
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