4.02.2009

Kentucky’s $31 Million Obscenity

by Jeff Siegel

Kentucky’s unemployment rate is 9.2 percent. Only four states have a higher rate of homeless children. One out of six people in the state live in poverty and it ranks 48th among states in income and is the fifth-highest state in terms of the number of people living in poverty.

So what did the University of Kentucky do this week? Signed a basketball coach* to a $31.65 million contract.

I’ve heard all the arguments about this, dating to my days as a sports writer. And none of them wash. It doesn’t matter if, by some improbable quirk of fate, the contract, as some say, “pays for itself.” It doesn’t matter that the money used to pay the coach, as some argue, “can’t be used for anything else.” It doesn’t matter that the school’s athletic director claimed: “In the marketplace we operate in, to be the premium basketball program in America, you want the best coach and you must pay a premium price.”

The contract is disgusting. We’re suffering through the worst economic downturn since the Depression. People are being thrown out of their homes. The U.S. auto industry is perilously close to no longer existing. Yet school officials think it’s okay to spend that much money so Dick Vitale can mumble about how wonderful the team is.

Where are the university’s priorities? Certainly not where they should be. I’m just glad I don’t have to pay taxes to support such a corrupt institution.

*The University of Kentucky's new coach is John Calipari who had coached at the University of Memphis.

(To see a press conference with Coach John Calipari discussing his new job at the University of Kentucky, please check below.)













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