Sunday, February 22, 2009

UCONN Basketball Coach Explains Basic Economics to Reporter

It's not that often that I get to see two of my favorite topics (UCONN basketball and executive compensation) collide (and on Youtube, yet).

After a recent game, during the press conference, UCONN coach Jim Calhouh was asked a question by "freelance journalist and political activist) Ken Kreyeske, who apparently working for some outfit called “The Hartford News" . He asked Calhoun
"Considering that you're the highest paid state employee and that there's a two billion dollar budget deficit, do you think tat"
Calhoun doesn't even let him finish, and responds, "Not a dime back." He then goes on to explain that he actually makes quite a bit more than that, and that the UCONN program actually results in a significant surplus ($12 million a year) that flows back to the university.

But I love the smackdown he puts on the reporter. At one pint, he asks him, "You're really not that stupid, are you?", followed by "My best advice to you? Shut up. Get some facts and then you can talk"

For that alone, if I ever see the man (and I almost rode in his Cancer Bikeathon last summer), I'd like to shake his hand.

Here's the video. Caution: do not watch while drinking any liquids, or be prepared to clean off your monitor and keyboard):

In addition to pure entertainment value, it also raises some interesting questions or points:
  • Who is in a better condition to determine whether a $1.6Million-plus annual salary for Calhoun adds value to UCONN?
  • Since it's a university, and not a company, a winning basketball team also has externalities over and above the financial impact of the team
  • Most executive salaries are benchmarked to the salaries of industry peers' compensation. How does Calhoun's stack up to his peers (perennial top-25 schools who regularly go to the Final Four)
  • What are the likely effects of capping executive compensation (either for Basketball coaches or for executives at troubled banks)?
Can anyone come up with a better response to a stupid reporter's question?

HT: The Ace of Spades

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