Doug Rogers

College Athletics Keep Head Coaches Equipped with Cars

Doug Rogers

Insurance. Gasoline. Routine maintenance. The costs of owning a car add up quickly. Despite the money crunches universities are experiencing from funding cuts, five Mid-American Conference schools still supply every head coach with a car. Kent State, Akron, Bowling Green, Central Michigan and Eastern Michigan all follow suit.

At Kent State, no courtesy car policy exists. Athletic director Joel Nielsen decides whether the coach receives a vehicle during hiring negotiations. However, every head coach is issued a car, and the athletics department as a whole uses 33 courtesy cars. Each pays $150 per month for the vehicle and covers his/her own insurance. Nielsen says he might not retain staff members without the perk.

“I think we would have some consideration by people that there might be other opportunities at other places,” Nielsen said, ”so there’d be a chance that we could lose some of our better employees, our better coaches.”

While Eastern Michigan does not have a written courtesy car policy, it provides vehicles to its coaching staff through stipends included in employee salaries. The stipends depend upon the contract each staff member negotiates with the school

Central Michigan coaches and administrators benefit from the athletics department’s courtesy car program. It supplies 38 vehicles, covering each head coach. Each employee’s monthly payment is based on mileage and time.

Drake Group founder Jon Ericson says while coaches definitely earn their perks, such as courtesy cars, the reason behind the growing divide between athletics and academics falls on the shoulders of professors. He uses Kent State while illustrating his point about a variety of universities.

“That athlete at Kent State cannot play,” Ericson said, “unless faculty allow him to enroll in the course and miss seven or eight classes and come dead tired to others. It cannot happen. So, all you have to do at Kent State is have the faculty say, ‘No mas.’ ”

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