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Forbes says Nick Saban’s $5.3 million salary is ‘modest’


Yes, modest And their words, not mine.

In a piece title “The Magic Of Nick Saban: Everyone Wants To Go To Alabama” Forbes writer Tom Van Riper argues that Saban is more a recruiter of overall academic success than just a recruiter of athletes. At just under $5.5 million a year, it’s hard to consider Saban’s salary “modest”, but Van Riper tries anyway:

But the money flowing directly from Bryant-Denny Stadium is just the start. If you think that a top college football coach earning seven figures is overpaid, think again. To appreciate just how modest Saban’s $5.3 million salary is, take a wider look around campus. Since 2007, Tuscaloosa has swelled its undergraduate ranks by 33% to over 28,000 students. Faculty count has kept pace: up 400 since 2007 to over 1,700. But it’s more than growth – it’s where the growth is coming from. According to the school, less than a third of the 2007 freshman class of 4,538 students hailed from out of state. By the fall of 2012, more than half (52%) of a freshman class of 6,397 students did. Various data from US News and the New York Times shows that the school’s out-of-state tuition cost – nearly three times higher than the rate for in-state students – rose from $18,000 to $22,950 a year during that period.

Add it all up – more students from outside Alabama paying ever-increasing premium tuition bills – and the school realized $50 million more in out-of-state tuition revenue for last fall’s incoming class than it did for the same class in 2007 ($76 million vs. $26 million). Kick in the additional $8.5 million in in-state tuition, which rose to $9,200 a year from $6,400 over the same period, and overall tuition revenue rose to $104 million from $46 million for the respective 2012 and 2007 freshman classes. And to boot, the school’s most recent capital campaign (i.e. donations from alumni and others) raised $600 million for scholarships and facilities, the most ever.

There’s more to the piece, but linking Saban to better admissions and higher tuition costs is certainly bold.

Either way, I’d say Saban is being compensated plenty well as it is.

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6 Responses to “Forbes says Nick Saban’s $5.3 million salary is ‘modest’”
  1. dcroz says: May 15, 2013 6:28 AM

    And herein lies the reason why so many schools are trying to move into the realm of FBS football, even if it means getting creamed by big schools in exchange for some cash or having to subsidize the athletics department with funds from the university budget. College football is one of the best ways to advertise a school to the nation at large and create interest in it regardless whether or not it is successful on the field. Of course, it pays bigger dividends when a football team IS successful (see above). Regional schools benefit even more from the name recognition they get. Who would have ever heard of Boise State outside of Idaho if not for their football program? Or North Texas? Or Louisiana-Monroe/Lafayette? (And you can just as easily substitute “basketball” and/or “March Madness” for “football” in this scenario.)

  2. southernpatriots says: May 15, 2013 6:55 AM

    Where football is king, football brings a huge interest in the school, and huge contributions via boosters and donors to various university projects, including new classrooms and other buildings and facilities. Sponsors or advertisers are also attracted to the university, with millions paid to for naming the field, naming a practice facility, naming a tennis court or field house, naming the journalism department building, etc.

    I hate to say it is all relative, but it is. Saban takes home his salary, and the University of Alabama benefits in direct contributions of many different kinds, as well as indirect benefits to amount to ten times, a hundred times his salary? What a great investment for the Crimson Tide, the state of Alabama and college football!

    With the new SEC network, ESPN contract, and all Slive is sitting back with this Kentucky bourbon and Cuban, I mean uhhh, Dominican or Puerto Rican cigar in his rocking chair surveying his legacy.

  3. cometkazie says: May 15, 2013 1:08 PM

    Before the SEC haters start, a message: Poof!

  4. ytownjoe says: May 15, 2013 1:51 PM

    If Saban ever becomes a free agent, that’s when you’ll find out what he’s worth.

  5. alligatorsnapper says: May 15, 2013 1:57 PM


    What a great post! You are perfectly correct!

    Is there a college football team at Ft. Knox?

  6. lakesidegator says: May 20, 2013 3:42 PM

    Ahhh History. How many times has it been that that large portions of a society lay gold and silver at the feet of their particular Prince of Darkness.

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