Who Should be Paid More at College: Coaches vs. Presidents

By  Finn Partners, Inc., Special for  USDR

As college and university basketball teams head into March Madness on the road to the Final Four of the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) Men’s Division I Championship, Americans have weighed in on views about coaches’  salaries.

In a recent survey conducted by Finn Partners, nearly two in three respondents (63 percent) say college and university coaches “should not make more than the presidents” of those institutions.  Of those who voice opposition, more than one-in-three (38 percent) strongly hold this view saying they are “definitely” against higher salaries for  coaches.

Finn Partners Infographic

Percentages change based on the ages of the respondents, with younger Americans less opposed to a pay gap. Nearly four in ten (38 percent) of those between 18 and 44 are more likely to say coaches should make more than college and university presidents compared to fewer than two in ten (17 percent) of those 45 and above.  Specific age breakouts  follow:

Percentage of Respondents By Age Who Say They Support Coaches Earning  More









60 and older


Also, Hispanic (47 percent) and African-American (34 percent) respondents are more likely to say they support a higher pay discrepancy between coaches and college or university  presidents.

This survey comes as the average salary for college head coaches was $823,000 for the 2014-2015  season.

As reported in The Chronicle of Higher Education in May 2014, “It’s no secret that in more than 40 states the highest-paid public employee isn’t the governor or even a university president. It’s a public-college football or basketball coach.” This information comes from The Chronicle‘s database on executive compensation at public  universities.

“While younger Americans are disproportionately likely to say that college and university coaches should make more than presidents, the vast majority of respondents say this practice is not appropriate,” said Margaret S. Dunning, Managing Partner, Finn Partners. “These findings suggest that Americans still consider academics a priority over athletics on college  campuses.”

The Finn Futures™ survey is a new initiative of Finn Partners, whose research team is led by Research Director Christopher Lawrence. Finn Futures ™ is part of an ongoing initiative by the company to assess attitudes, beliefs and behaviors in education and other issues of critical importance to consumers. The survey was conducted online in November 2015 among a sample of 1,000 American adults nationwide. The data was weighed slightly to ensure it was representative of the  population.

About Finn Partners,  Inc.

Finn Partners was launched in late 2011 to realize Peter Finn’s vision to create a leading communications agency dedicated to shaping a bold new future in which innovation and partnership are strong brand drivers. Finn Partners specializes in the full spectrum of public and corporate affairs services, including digital and social media. Practice areas include arts, consumer, CSR, education, health, technology and travel & lifestyle. Widmeyer Communications, a Finn Partners company, is the higher education arm of Finn and represents a diverse higher education client roster. Clients include major colleges and universities, think tanks, and leading associations in the higher education  sector.

Since inception four years ago, Finn Partners has received six agency awards that are indicators of client and cultural leadership: “Best Midsize Agency” in 2015, “Best Agency to Work For” in 2013 and “Best New Agency” in 2012 from the Holmes Report and Midsize PR Firm of the Year in 2015 and Top Places to Work in PR in 2013 from PR News. Headquartered in New York City, the company has approximately 500 employees, with offices in Chicago, Detroit, Fort Lauderdale, Jerusalem, London, Los Angeles,Munich, Nashville, Paris, San Francisco and Washington D.C., and offers international capabilities through its own global network and PROI Worldwide. Find us at www.finnpartners.com and follow us on Twitter  @finnpartners.

SOURCE Finn Partners,  Inc.

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