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Three Penny Press

The student news site of Bellaire High School

Three Penny Press

The student news site of Bellaire High School

Three Penny Press

End of an era for Texas A&M University

A critique on overspending in collegiate football
David Rodezno, Unsplash
The 12th Man statue in front of Texas A&M University’s Kyle Field, a statue that represents the 12th man on the field, a hopeful comeback.

Jimbo Fisher’s recent firing as head coach from Texas A&M University made headlines after the $77 million buyout.

Fisher was originally hired on a 10-year $75 million deal, which was later replaced with a 10-year $95 million contract when LSU was heavily pursuing his signature in 2020. Although Fisher was a good recruiter for A&M – consistently landing top recruiting classes including the #1 overall class of 2022 – his inept gameday coaching made the contract’s value feel unfathomable.

As a high school student and diehard college football fan, how much are universities willing to throw at football coaches? The idea of throwing cash at coaches until their team wins a trophy is incomprehensible and is part of a bigger issue, the overfunding of college athletics. The overfunding of college athletics, specifically football, implies that institutions have a preference for sports over higher education. Do universities put as much funding into their educational programs as their athletic programs? Where do universities draw the line? How much is too much to pay a college football coach?

Texas A&M is ranked 4th in the SEC West with a 4-4 record, behind the University of Alabama, who are the division leaders with an 8-0 record. No matter how much money Texas A&M University throws at its collegiate football program, it never has and never will compare to the success of the Crimson Tide.

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Fisher’s firing will hopefully bring Texas A&M University a fresh start when it comes to its football team, but how soon? Maybe sooner than many think, especially after A&M wisely hired Duke University coach Mike Elko to take over as head coach. In 2022, Elko guided Duke University to an overall record of 9-4 capped by a 30-13 victory over the University of Central Florida in the Military Bowl; he also became the first head coach in program history to lead his team to nine wins and a bowl victory in the first season.

Flags flying at Texas A&M University’s Kyle Field where the Aggies played under the lead of Jimbo Fisher. (Zabdiel Gonzalez; Unsplash)

Elko has a past with Texas A&M University’s football team, he was the defensive coordinator and safeties coach from 2018 to 2021. Elko was the force behind Texas A&M’s greatest recruiting class and is familiar with the defensive players.

Even though Texas A&M University has a slim-to-none chance of beating Alabama, comparing the contracts of the two coaches causes some confusion. University of Alabama head coach, Nick Saban, recently signed a deal where he would make $10.7 million in his first year of the contract. Jimbo Fisher made about $9 million annually. Does a million-dollar difference make that much of a difference in coaching? The short answer is no, the Aggies aren’t losing to Alabama due to their pay difference, the Aggies were losing to Alabama because Fisher’s coaching was suboptimal.

Elko, the new Texas A&M University head coach, signed a 6-year contract for $42 million. Why is Elko, a rather promising coach, getting a lower contract than Fisher? If Texas A&M can cough up that much money for Fisher, you think they would be able to pay Elko around the same, if not more, considering what he brings to the table.

What is so important about collegiate football coaches that they deserve tens of millions of dollars? The worst-case scenario, somebody’s favorite team loses and they are a little sad, it’s not the end of the world. In a day and age where college football is worshipped, we should consider why the sport is so popular. Tailgating and school spirit are only one part of a school, the academics and accomplishments are what should be celebrated more frequently.

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  • D

    DavidJan 12, 2024 at 7:08 am

    Who are you to say A&M can never be as good as Alabama? That’s like me saying you will never be a good journalist just because you are not now and never have been.

    • K

      KristiJan 13, 2024 at 2:26 pm

      I agree! The Aggies have beaten the tide before