Whatever Urban wants, Urban gets. And that's OK

posted by Bruce Hooley -

The top priority of every assistant coach -- and his athletic director -- is to keep Urban Meyer happy

Urban Meyer is worth every penny of the $6.5 million or so that he makes. I'd endorse paying him twice that, if he wanted, because the entire axis of the gargantuan Ohio State athletic program tilts on his axis.

If Urban fails – which he won't, because he's the greatest coach in Ohio State history (and it isn't even close between him and

whoever is No. 2) -- the financial collateral damage of the 36-sport program that would crumble around him would look like a trailer park after an EF-5 tornado.

So there's one reason and one reason only to pay Meyer's assistants the pay raises they received, and that's because it keeps Urban happy.

It's the same reason Tristan Thompson, J.R. Smith and others make crazy salaries for their respective abilities with the Cavaliers...because that's what it takes to keep LeBron James happy.

All but three of Meyer's assistant coaches received hefty raises. Two who did not are new hires, and thus couldn't get a raise over last year. The other, linebackers coach Bill Davis, stays at $500,000 after a season in which his most marketable attribute remained that he served as the best man at Urban Meyer's wedding.

No one is overpaid who isn't holding the person who agrees to pay them in some sort of peril.

If someone will willingly pay you, you deserve whatever they're willing to give.

So I have no problem with the assistants accepting these raises.

But make no mistake, these are not merit raises. No one who works at a business gets a merit raise, or doubles or more than doubles their salary, in a year where the company fails to reach

its stated goals or suffers the single most embarrassing failure in company history.

That's what happened to Ohio State Football Inc. in 2017.

OSU didn't reach the College Football Playoff, and the reason it didn't traced to a 55-24 loss to unranked Iowa in a game the Buckeyes entered ranked No. 2 in the nation.

It didn't take long for one still-disgruntled OSU fan to frame Schiano's new salary through that prism.

Some have justified paying Meyer's assistants their significant raises for one of three reasons, or some combination of all three.

First, that OSU had to match the market rate for coaches with comparable positions at similar schools.

Second, that if OSU didn't match such salaries, it would lose quality assistants to rival programs.

Third, that OSU's assistants were in high demand, and would leave if not compensated commensurate to other offers.

OK, then name one assistant coach who left OSU during Meyer's six seasons simply to get paid more elsewhere.

You can't, because it hasn't happened.

Sure, coaches, like Tom Herman, Luke Fickell or Chris Ash, left to be head coaches elsewhere. But that move wasn't solely a

financial decision, but came about so each guy could run his own show.

Likewise, the only coaches who've left Meyer for comparable positions elsewhere are those he diplomatically (or not) showed the door. Nice knowing you, Ed Warriner and Tim Beck.

OSU could get away with paying less for the same reason many jobs in Florida, Arizona and California pay less than comparable jobs in Alaska. In warm-weather states, some of your salary comes out of the sun, as they say, because it's just more pleasant to live there.

Well, when it comes to college football coaching, Urban Meyer is the sun. He blots out virtually everything else.

Is he fun to work for? Probably not.

But is he a king-maker whose association with an assistant can turn that assistant into a hot commodity?

You know the answer.

If not, ask Herman, Ash or Fickell.

If you think young, upwardly-mobile, ambitious assistants wouldn't sacrifice $100,000 or more in salary elsewhere for the long-term investment of working with Urban Meyer, contending for national championships every year, having the best facilities and the best recruits at their disposal every year, then you don't know what matters most to them.

PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES

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Bruce Hooley

Bruce Hooley

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