Just About Everyone is Ca$hing In

A year ago it was such a heart warming story. Florida's trio of uber-talented basketball stars announced they were going to stay in school to try and repeat as NCAA Champions. Coach Billy Donovan, so taken by the selfless act of his players declined a huge contract revision so as not to appear to be cashing in on their success when they, themselves chose not to.

Well that was then, and this is now. It started with just about everyone with a chance at getting drafted leaving the national champion football team for the NFL. After another NCAA hoops title, the big three, joined by point guard Taurean Green said goodbye Gators, hello NBA. A month later Donovan did the same thing, albeit only for a few days.

After reneging on his agreement with the Magic, Donovan signed the richest contract in UF history and football coach Urban Meyer inked the second most lucrative deal any Florida coach has ever received.

You would have thought that was it, but then Florida Athletic Director Jeremy Foley reaches an agreement on a new deal that will make him the highest paid A.D. in the country at an estimated $1.2 million annually.

You cannot argue that each individual has the right to make as much as they can to take care of his or her family (and at these prices several other families). But the raw numbers are somewhat staggering, especially when you consider recent history. Ten years ago the Gator football coach, basketball coach and athletic director combined to make about $3 million a year. Next year, those same three jobs will pay roughly $8 million. If you look at 200,000 fans in the O'Dome each season and another 600,000 in The Swamp, each fan will be paying $100 just for the salaries of Donovan, Meyer and Foley.

Gator Nation takes great pride in the success of its sports' teams, particularly the recent national championships. Florida fans are also rather vocal in bragging about the Gators' annual top ten finishes in the national All-Sports standings as well as the domination of the SEC in that area. Well, there's a price to be paid to succeed at that level, and it appears the bills are about to come due.

Foley's Wild Spring

This is normally a pretty calm time of year for the Gator Athletic Director, but Jeremy Foley has had a most unusual last few weeks. In that time he has fired (Pat McMahon) and hired (Kevin O'Sullivan) a baseball coach. He's placed one coach (Mike Holloway) in charge of both track programs and chose the person (Amanda O'Leary) to build Florida's fledgling Lacrosse program. That's in addition to coping with the departure and return of his basketball coach AND negotiating the three contracts mentioned above.

Talk about someone who's earned a vacation.

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