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College Coaches’ Salaries: What’s The Financial Balance Of Athletics, Education?

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LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — With recent breaking announcements of high-level contracts involved in the world of college sports, the struggle to balance funding for both athletics and education has been renewed.

Many top universities pride themselves on both the athletic success of their sports programs and the academic achievement of their student body.

After USC spent money to sign Steve Sarkisian as their new head football coach and UCLA extended Jim Mora’s contract for six years through 2019, however, some are alleging that university spending of millions of dollars may be favoring one success at the expense of the other.

In Westwood, a number of UCLA students said that they think the money designated for Mora’s extension was well spent.

“I think Jim Mora is a great coach,” one UCLA student said. “He’s really helped the UCLA football team out a lot, and UCLA athletics as a whole.”

CBSSports.com columnist Bruce Feldman suggests that, while the extension is a risk, the success of athletics can help boost other aspects of the university.

“If you hire a guy who you’re paying a lot of money and he’s struggling, it blows up in your face,” Feldman said. “If you have a great program — not just a good one, a great one — enrollment is up, the businesses around there are up, people feel better about campus activity. All those things come in, so it works.”

Some of the highest-paid coaches in college football include Alabama’s Nick Saban ($5.55 million per year), Texas’ Mack Brown ($5.45 million per year) and Arkansas’ Bret Bielema ($5.16 million per year).

The financial details of Mora’s and Sarkisian’s contracts have yet to be announced.

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