Anyone worried that their kids spend too much time reading sports sections shouldn't assume that's harmfully myopic, with just wins-losses, statistics and scores. Anymore, there are countless articles on crime and punishment, medicine and better living through chemistry, political chatter, social action, loyalty and betrayal, the seven deadly sins, sexual peccadilloes ... a kid also can learn a lot about high finance.
Take the current rush of success by the Kansas football and men's and women's basketball programs. Money talk will soon figure prominently in sports page presentations.
After its historic 12-1 football feat, Orange Bowl triumph, growing fan support and the coming new grid complex at Memorial Stadium, how long before we'll learn that Jayhawk ticket prices will run higher in '08? What extra lug will be applied to the Kansas State visit or the sellout of another KU-Missouri battle in Kansas City? Probably won't be any reductions or even a hold-the-line policy.
Missouri just boosted coach Gary Pinkel to something like a $1.85 million annual payout, making him No. 3 in the Big 12 behind Bob Stoops of Oklahoma and Mack Brown of Texas. Don't be surprised if KU's Lew Perkins finds a way to boost coach Mark Mangino at least to the Pinkel level. Mark's current package runs around $1.5 million; with a little tinkering he could wind up with around $250,000 in bonuses after masterminding the best season in school history.
There also will be monetary goodies for Mangino's staff. Defensive genius Bill Young is drawing $214,120 this year, and we can assume after KU's impressive accomplishments in his realm of expertise that he'll be doing somewhat better before long. Ed Warriner, who orchestrated a scintillating turn of events for the offensive forces is drawing $210,000 right now. Wanna bet he won't be close to $250,000 the next go-around?
Assistant Tim Beck was making $140,400 before moving to Nebraska and surely will be in the $160,000 range at Lincoln. The other 10 football assistants are averaging about $142,000, and they're also due for raises, merit and otherwise. Even if such figures are not released by Perkins and Co., we're in the ball park.
What about Perkins? He's currently enjoying a yearly $650,000 or so and is doing precisely what chancellor Robert Hemenway brought him in to do. Don't faint if Hemenway "demands" that Lew accept another hefty raise. Then there is that $1.3 million longevity bonus that Perkins is due to collect in June of 2009, at the end of his sixth year here.
Bonnie Henrickson has about a $635,000 annual package and is off to her best start as Jayhawk women's coach. With a great year, she might top the $650,000 level next time around.
Basketball coach Bill Self, like Mangino, has a $1.5 million yearly portfolio and could easily join Mark Mangino and MU's Pinkel at $1.85 million or beyond if he wins more Big 12 titles, makes the NCAA Final Four and (oh, joy, oh, bliss!) brings home the first KU collegiate title since 1988.
Baseball star Hank Bauer, a World War II military hero, once was asked why he always had particularly productive performances at World Series time. Hank, never one to sugar-coat things, said, "Let's just say it's the bonus money."
College folks try to create a different spin on it, like love of the game and boosting their school, but they never let sentiment, no matter how intense, let them be tardy at the pay window. Maybe long ago, but not anymore.