Posts Tagged ‘sports’
Tags: academy, budget, cartoon, Great Britain, Obama, Republicans, sports, Thatcher
Tags: academy, capitalism, inequality, sports, workers
We’ve just learned that nine athletic directors of major college-sports programs make more than $1 million annually, with an average salary of about $515,000. They include:
Tom Jurich, at Louisville ($1.4-million); Jeremy Foley, at Florida ($1.2-million); Barry Alvarez, at Wisconsin ($1.2-million); Shawn Eichorst, at Nebraska ($1.1-million); DeLoss Dodds, at Texas ($1.1-million); Gene Smith, at Ohio State ($1.1-million); Jack Swarbrick, at Notre Dame (slightly more than $1-million); and Joe Castiglione, at Oklahoma ($1-million). Topping the list was Vanderbilt’s David Williams II, at $3.2-million. Mr. Williams is vice chancellor for university affairs and athletics, as well as a tenured law professor.
Why is their pay so high? According to Patrick Hruby,
Athletic directors themselves offer a variety of reasons. They manage $100 million budgets and megabuck media and licensing contracts. They oversee dozens of teams. They hire and fire coaches, cope with scandals, navigate byzantine NCAA rules. Most importantly, they raise money. As Vanderbilt vice chancellor for athletics and university affairs and athletics director David Williams — a member of the $1 million-plus club — once told USA Today Sports, “if someone says what should I go learn to train to be this, I’d say go spend a year in law school, a year in business school and a year over in the college of education, and then take some communications stuff. And then get yourself a big old box of aspirin.”
Also speaking to USA Today Sports, Louisville’s Jurich was succinct. “I know one thing,” he said. “The ADs around the country are earning their money.” Well, sure. Athletic directors work hard. The job is demanding and requires a wide range of administrative and interpersonal skills. On the other hand, so does being an inner-city school principal, or a day care manager, or the chief executive of a large charity. Everyone with a job that doesn’t involve theft or embezzlement earns their money. So never mind Jurich’s self-serving platitudes. The question remains: why are athletic directors earning so much money? And the answer is simple.
When you don’t have to pay competitive wages for your actual workforce, there’s a lot more cash available to shower upon high-level bureaucrats.
Come to think of it, why should collegiate sports be any different from the rest of contemporary capitalism?
Tags: CCC, depression, New Deal, skiing, sports
We often forget how important New Deal programs were for unemployed workers then, and what a legacy they left for us today.
One of those programs was the Civilian Conservation Corps, which cut ski trails in New England (such as Nose Dive, above, which can still be enjoyed on Mt. Mansfield in Vermont):
From 1933 until 1942, the C.C.C. deployed almost 3 million unemployed men between the ages of 18 and 25 across the nation to plant trees, hew trails and build roads, bridges and park structures. Workers lived in camps run by the Army, were clothed and fed, and received $30 a month. Communities across the country benefited from new state parks and infrastructure.
The program also helped catalyze the nascent ski industry in the United States. Many New England ski resorts were built around trails first cut by the C.C.C. “In the scope of what the C.C.C. did, it was a real drop in the bucket,” said Jeff Leich, director of the New England Ski Museum. “And yet you think about Cannon, Wildcat, Stowe and what that’s meant for the economy of the region.” The winter tourism industry they helped spawn remains an important source of revenue throughout Vermont, New Hampshire and the Berkshires.
I’m now going to have to go in search of some of those trails.
Tags: cartoon, education, football, guns, jobs, Notre Dame, Obama, sports, taxes, United States, violence
Tags: baseball, Marvin Miller, RIP, sports, union, workers
Marvin Miller led Major League Baseball, kicking and screaming, from slavery into the modern era.
When Mr. Miller was named the executive director of the association in 1966, club owners ruled much as they had since the 19th century. The reserve clause bound players to their teams for as long as the owners wanted them, leaving them with little bargaining power. Come contract time, a player could expect an ultimatum but not much more. The minimum salary was $6,000 and had barely budged for two decades. The average salary was $19,000. The pension plan was feeble, and player grievances could be heard only by the commissioner, who worked for the owners.
By the time Mr. Miller retired at the end of 1982, he had secured his place on baseball’s Mount Rushmore by forging one of the strongest unions in America, creating a model for those in basketball, football and hockey.
Here’s Tommy Bennett’s characterization from earlier this year:
Marvin Miller is a throwback to a past era—maybe two or three eras ago. It’s rare these days to hear a well-dressed economist refer to himself as a lifelong “trade unionist.” It’s rare to hear someone earnestly compare the federal minimum wage to the minimum salary in baseball.
And here’s Miller himself:
Miller has still not been elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Tags: corporations, England, football, sports
As the English Premier League (officially the Barclays Premier League) season gets underway, David Conn [ht: sw] has a nice piece on the history of the role of corporate money in English football.
A sport that was first organized as an amateur game in the 1860s has now come to this:
Manchester United are the standard-bearers of the Premier League era, relentlessly victorious on the field with teams repeatedly built and rebuilt over the last twenty years by the manager, Alex Ferguson. The club has expanded its Old Trafford stadium to accommodate 76,000 seats, making it by far England’s biggest; ticket prices and lavish corporate entertainment bring in between £3 and £4 million each matchday. United had cash in the bank and no debt when in May 2005 the US-based Glazer family bought the club in the face of angry protests from fans. It was a leveraged buyout, financed with £525 million the Glazers had borrowed from banks and hedge funds, then loaded onto the club itself to repay. The takeover has cost the club £550 million in interest, bankers’ fees and charges, while £423 million of its debt remains. In July the Glazers announced a plan to seek investors to pay off some of their debt, via a float on the New York Stock Exchange of a new Manchester United holding company registered in the Cayman Islands. The Manchester divide, between City’s remote owner putting £1 billion in, and United’s draining £550 million out, throws into relief the spectrum of outcomes, not to say random consequences, when England’s football clubs are sold in the global marketplace.
But there are alternatives:
In Germany football suffered a decline in the 1980s similar to England’s, with crowds in the top division, the Bundesliga, reduced to an average of 17,000. And German football too has had a remarkable revival, fuelled by TV’s millions (and government support), with proud new stadiums and a remodelled image. Last season the crowds at Bundesliga matches averaged 45,000, the highest in the world. Supporters could watch Bayern Munich, fielding world-class players who reached the European Champions League final, for €15, in standing areas that accommodate 13,500 supporters. (In 1993 the German football association decided to retain standing areas in stadiums because they made it possible to sell cheaper tickets to younger or poorer supporters.) The cheapest ticket to see their rivals in the final, Chelsea, play a top Premier League match was £56. Chelsea’s chief executive, Ron Gourlay, has acknowledged that young people struggle to attend matches at Stamford Bridge.
Germany has been able to do things differently partly because the clubs, even the biggest of them, are still member organisations. The Bundesliga has repeatedly voted to retain a rule that supporters must own at least 50 per cent plus one share of their own clubs. At Bayern, 82 per cent of the club is owned by 130,000 members, who elect the president and board. Bayern has sold 9 per cent stakes over the last ten years to Audi and Adidas, the investment helping to pay for a new stadium, the Allianz Arena, but control of the Bundesliga clubs cannot be bought and sold, the constitution cannot be changed except by a vote of members, the league strictly regulates the amount of debt that clubs can carry, and all profits are reinvested into the clubs. The German game, sponsored by corporations but owned and watched by working-class supporters, is run with precisely the coherence that the English FA was seeking when it first deregulated the game.
Within English football itself, Tranmere Rovers offers an alternative:
The fans set up a Supporters Trust which has just reached its initial goal of raising £100,000 in its ambition to take the club into community ownership. Supporters Trusts are directly democratic, not-for-profit organisations where fans have a formal say in running the club, and ultimately take them over as fan owned and controlled.
But perhaps the most interesting of recent developments on the terraces of Prenton Park has been the formation of Tranmere Rovers Anti-fascists (TRAF). With their mighty 12ft high banner declaring working class unity, TRAF have been promoting anti-fascism in the local area as a response to the increased presence of the EDL at home games. They have already had a mass leafleting campaign outside the ground and been involved in joint actions with other anti-fascist groups, including joining anarchists in Liverpool to counter the BNP’s protest against Question Time being recorded in the city.
TRAF politics are clear: “We are a cross section of Tranmere fans, concerned at the rise of the extreme right wing. History tells us that when we stand together we can achieve anything as a community, as a society, as a class and as a people. History also teaches us that the rich and ruling class are the only beneficiaries of our class divided. We stand vehemently opposed to all forms of racism, fascism, sectarianism and discrimination” which impressed Billy Bragg enough to sport one of their t-shirts during his set at this year’s Tolpuddle festival.
Personal disclosure: I am an avid fan of Manchester United, which has started the season with one loss and one win, and a stock offering that has been a flop.
Tags: academy, banks, cartoon, corporations, inequality, prisons, sports, United States
Tags: cartoon, corporations, crisis, debt, Europe, Greece, Ireland, Olympics, politics, profits, Romney, Spain, sports
Tags: healthcare, sports, United Kingdom
London did what Chicago could never have done: celebrate the existence of universal healthcare.
To the surprise of many, the opening ceremonies of the 2012 London Olympic games, directed by Danny Boyle, included a tribute to the National Health Service. And the performers included 800 volunteers from the NHS.
The next, dreamlike sequence celebrated one of Britain’s most beloved institutions, the National Health Service, while playing on its link to another celebrated icon.
Founded in 1948, the NHS provides free healthcare, and has become the fifth largest employer in the world, with 1.7 million staff. Many Britons are fiercely proud of the service and have fought to defend it from successive waves of reforms.
The NHS was represented here by several wards’ worth of nurses pushing hospital beds, which were used as trampolines by children before being arranged to spell out the word: “Gosh.”
Coming in close proximity to a recitation from J.M. Barrie’s children’s classic Peter Pan — “When you play at it by day with the chairs and table-cloth, it is not in the least alarming, but in the two minutes before you go to sleep it becomes very real” — this was a clear reference to Great Ormond Street Hospital, a London children’s hospital closely associated with that book.
In 1929, Barrie gifted all the rights from the work to the hospital, claiming that Peter Pan himself had been a patient there, and that “it was he who put me up to the little thing I did for the hospital.”
OK, so depictions of the preindustrial bucolic countryside made no reference to the enclosure movements. And while Boyle did include the “dark satanic mills” of the industrial revolution, there was no mention of the financial crash, much less a depiction of Barclay’s manipulation of LIBOR.
Still, while the ConDem government is busy trying to privatize aspects of British healthcare, the NHS stands as something to be celebrated and defended.
Apparently, the ceremonies also included
trade union members among a parade of people celebrating political agitators from the past, a parade that also included suffragists, Afro-Caribbean immigrants who fought for minority rights, and the Jarrow hunger marchers, who protested against unemployment in 1936.