Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Jim Calhoun and Law Professors

I'm a big sports fan. I even watch Mike and Mike with my sling box when away. Golic is beginning to wear on me, though. Recently I have following the Jim Calhoun "we bring in $12 million for the University" affair. This, as you know, is the explanation for and defense of his salary and that of every other big time college coach. The fact that their salaries are set by the market is OK by me although I think it is a pretty screwed up market that values a coach in the multiple millions and the a high school teacher at 30K.

What concerns me is the way the argument has morphed into some kind moral defense as in "he's really a good guy" and I do not mean Jim Calhoun only. Let's be real. The coaches make their dough on the backs of a captive labor market composed predominately of African Americans and poor people. I'll stay away from the details but you know them anyway. Through a very profitable cooperative effort with the NBA and the NFL, the Schools exercise tremendous monopsony power. So, the next time you hear that the salaries are OK because they are set by the market, remember that the same cannot be said of the employees -- the players. When these high paid coaches concede their part in this exploitation and argue forcefully for extending the benefits of the market to their player I'll find the defense more compelling.

When you think about it maybe they are not much different from many law professors. Law Schools charge ahead to hire new professors from the privileged classes know that the economic downturn may be felt predominately by the non elites at their Universities. Is there that much difference between these two forms of indifference to the condition of those at the bottom of the ladder?

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