At a salary of $5.3 million, Alabama head coach Nick Saban is currently the highest-paid head coach in college football. He might also be the most underpaid.
Last week we highlighted a study done by a Harvard marketing professor showing the benefits a strong football season brings to its university as a whole. If one season can bring nealry an 18 percent jump in new student applications, what have three national championships in four seasons done for Alabama?
Forbes has quantified the Saban Effect in their recent piece "The Magic of Nick Saban: Everyone Wants to Go to Alabama." Growing the Crimson Tide athletic department profits by more than 250 percent from 2007 to 2012 won't shock anybody, but the growth Saban has wrought for the entire university will be an inconvenient truth for the anti-athletics crowd.
Take a look at some of Forbes' figures:
- Undergraduate enrollment has grown by 33 percent since 2007.
- Alabama's faculty has grown by 400 since 2007.
- Out-of-state freshman enrollment has jumped from under 33 percent to more than 50 percent.
- Over that same period, out-of-state tuition has grown by more than 125 percent.
- The flood of applications has allowed Alabama to lower its acceptance rate from 64 percent to 53 percent.
- Revenue generated by the 2012 freshman class is more than 225 percent greater than that of the 2007 freshman class.
- Donations to university scholarships and facilities topped $600 million for the first time in school history.
We'd have to enlist an Alabama economics professor to truly understand the value Saban has brought to Tuscaloosa since 2007, but I do know this: it's a heck of a lot higher than $5.3 million a year.