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Positive takeaways from Syracuse’s salary report

We picked up a couple of signs that should encourage fans

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 13 Syracuse at Louisville Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

It’s likely that some Syracuse Orange fans saw the latest University salary report and feel vindicated that the Dino Babers extension has been a terrible deal for the Orange. Others will look at Jim Boeheim’s salary and marvel at the value it provides. I think there are other things we can learn from this limited information.

You should be surprised to see Tony White’s name included among the top earners at Syracuse in 2020.

White was listed with a compensation package at Syracuse worth $711,420 and a salary of $641,965 in 2020. That is more than double the salary that USA Today lists for his final year at Arizona State, where he reportedly earned $300,000 along with performance bonuses

White has been touted by some fans as a strong candidate to replace Babers should Syracuse struggle once again in 2022. What stands out is that Syracuse backed up the commitment to football by grabbing a rising assistant coach from another P5 school and doing so by offering a strong contract. This spring Syracuse grabbed two other P5 coaches in Robert Anae and Jason Beck and while they were in a different situation than White, it’s likely Syracuse offered them more than previous coaches were earning.

NCAA Basketball: Syracuse at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

The other piece of information I found interesting was related to Boeheim’s standing among his peers. While Jim’s $2.6 million ranks him 51st among D1 coaches according to USA Today’s database, the fact that Boeheim is just in front of Notre Dame’s Mike Brey should ease some of the concerns that Boeheim’s “hometown discount” won’t be around when he leaves. I’m about 90% certain that Boeheim’s replacement will be one of his assistant coaches and as first-time head coaches they won’t require Syracuse to pay a buyout or hand them a top 20 salary. You can point to Brey as a great example of market value for a private school in the ACC.

I know that there is a belief that to be competitive you have to be willing to pay coaches big money, but a recent piece in The Athletic piece had this quote from an agent who represents head coaches

There are a lot of really good young coaches who don’t need 10-year, $10-million contracts to come to an institution but can be competitive if they’re surrounded with a good staff, good infrastructure, good resources and good administrative leadership. I think what’s going to be interesting is when a program actually figures that out — I would rather go and pay my coach $4 million a year and put the rest of that toward NIL or something to enhance the whole package.

While the focus of the piece was football, it’s applicable to any sport. As Syracuse balances the investment in facilities vs the investment in people I think the idea of finding better value for your resources is one to consider.