College Football Coaches' Pay and Contracts: Are They Overpaid and Unduly Privileged?

56 Pages Posted: 12 Sep 2014 Last revised: 5 Jun 2017

Randall S. Thomas

Vanderbilt University - Law School; European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

R. Lawrence Van Horn

Vanderbilt University - Strategy and Business Economics

Date Written: January 22, 2015

Abstract

The commentators and the media pay particular attention to the compensation of high profile individuals. Whether these are corporate CEOs, or college football coaches, many critics question whether their levels of remuneration are appropriate. In contrast, corporate governance scholarship has asserted that as long as the compensation is tied to shareholder interests, it is the employment contract and incentives therein which should be the source of scrutiny, not the absolute level of pay itself. We employ this logic to study the compensation contracts of Division I FBS college football coaches during the period 2005-2013. Our analysis finds many commonalities between the structure and incentives of the employment contracts of CEOs and these football coaches. These contracts’ features are consistent with what economic theory would predict. As such we find no evidence that the structure of college football coach contracts is misaligned, or that they are overpaid.

Keywords: Football, Coaches, Evidence, Employment Contracts

JEL Classification: G34, K22, K41

Suggested Citation

Thomas, Randall S. and Van Horn, R. Lawrence, College Football Coaches' Pay and Contracts: Are They Overpaid and Unduly Privileged? (January 22, 2015). Indiana Law Journal, Vol. 91, p. 189, 2016; Vanderbilt Law and Economics Research Paper No. 14-27; Vanderbilt Owen Graduate School of Management Research Paper No. 2494366. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2494366 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2494366

Randall S. Thomas (Contact Author)

Vanderbilt University - Law School ( email )

131 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203-1181
United States

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

c/o ECARES ULB CP 114
B-1050 Brussels
Belgium

Ray Lawrence Van Horn

Vanderbilt University - Strategy and Business Economics ( email )

Nashville, TN 37240
United States

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