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Study: The 25 highest-paid university presidents vs. their coaches

The Chronicle of Higher Education unveiled salary information for 256 college presidents in fiscal year 2013 on Sunday, and it's an interesting list.

In general, high-level collegiate coaching pays better than high-level academia. The 50th highest-paid university president made $621,200 in 2013 (SUNY system's Nancy L. Zimpher); the 50th highest-paid FBS head coach made $2,001,250 (Kentucky's Mark Stoops). The outlier here is Ohio State president E. Gordon Gee. Gee and his famous bow tie made $6,057,615 in total compensation, nearly $700,000 more than highest-paid coach Nick Saban and astounding 3.7 times more than the second-highest paid president R. Bowen Loftin of Texas A&M. (Neither Gee nor Loftin are still are those same schools.)

Here's a look at the 25 highest-paid presidents or chancellors, compared with how those schools paid their football coaches. All coaching salaries courtesy of USA Today. (For any system chancellors, we took the coach from the flagship school within that system.)

Rank

President

School

Salary

Coach

Salary

1.

E. Gordon Gee 

Ohio State

$6,057,615 

Urban Meyer 

$4,608,000

2. 

R. Bowen Loftin 

Texas A&M 

$1,636,274

Kevin Sumlin

$3,100,000

3.

Hamid A. Shirvani 

North Dakota*

$1,311,095

Kyle Schweigert 

$150,000

4. 

Renu Khator

Houston

$1,266,000

Tony Levine

$900,000

5. 

Sally K. Mason

Iowa

$1,139,705

Kirk Ferentz

$3,985,000

6. 

Michael A. McRobbie 

Indiana

$1,111,924

Kevin Wilson

$1,291,220

7.

Michael F. Adams

Georgia

$1,074,869

Mark Richt

$3,314,000

8.

V. Gordon Moulton

South Alabama

$1,072,121

Joey Jones

$384,450

9.

Mary Sue Coleman

Michigan

$1,037,357

Brady Hoke

$4,154,000

10.

Mark G. Yudof

California*

$857,085

Sonny Dykes

$2,394,000

11.

Ray L. Watts

UAB

$853,464

Garrick McGee

$550,000

12.

Charles W. Steger

Virginia Tech

$836,886

Frank Beamer

$2,541,616

13.

Francisco G. Cigarroa 

Texas*

$815,833

Mack Brown

$5,392,500

14.

John C. Hitt

Central Florida

$795,819

George O'Leary

$1,534,728

15.

David E. Daniel

UT-Dallas

$792,265

N/A

N/A

16.

James P. Clements

West Virginia

$790,030

Dana Holgorsen

$2,630,000

17.

G.P. (Bud) Peterson

Georgia Tech

$777,841

Paul Johnson

$2,515,000

18.

John M. Dunn

Western Michigan 

$776,062

P.J. Fleck

$392,500

19.

Michael K. Young

Washington

$770,000

Steve Sarkisian 

$2,575,000

20.

Patrick T. Harker

Delaware

$767,285

Dave Brock

$300,000 (est.)

21.

Michael Rao

Virginia Commonwealth 

$736,824

N/A

N/A

22.

Jay Gogue

Auburn

$733,850

Gus Malzahn

$2,440,000

23.

Bill Powers

Texas

$731,638

Mack Brown

$5,392,500

24.

Teresa A. Sullivan

Virginia

$731,537

Mike London

$2,189,703

25.

Robert E. Witt

Alabama*

$725,000

Nick Saban

$5,545,852

* - system chancellor

Of the 23 applicable comparisons, the football coach had a higher salary than his boss across campus 16 times. 

While acknowledging that market forces are what drive salaries on both sides of the university ledger, college football's salary structure follows a clearer path than the academic side. The highest-paid coaches in 2013 were employed by Alabama, Texas, Oklahoma, Ohio State, LSU and Michigan. That's what you'd expect to see.

What I did not expect to see, however, is the University of Michigan's president one spot lower than the University of South Alabama, or the school president at the University of Texas at Dallas earning more than his counterpart at the flagship school in Austin.