The Commonwealth of Kentucky is in major financial trouble. Cities are having to cut staff and services. The educational system is underfunded and the state universities are having to cut programs and raise tuition and fees to remain afloat.
The University of Kentucky just hired John Calipari as their basketball coach and he arrives with the most lucrative contract in the college game – an eight-year deal totaling $31.65 million which works out to 3.95 million a year.
To put some things into perspective, the average Medical School salaries in a 2008 report done by the AAMC said this.
The average salary for Medical School department chairs was $230,000.00.
The average salary for professors was $146,700.00
Associate professors was $96,500.00
Assistant professors, $76,300.00
These are for full time salaries and I do not have any data on any of these people and if they receive extra compensation for private practice beyond their teaching. These are average salaries. Professors in private institutions tend to be paid a little higher than those in public institutions.
Medical school professors do get paid, on average, more than other professors. The average salary of most university professors is a bit under $75,000.00 per year. There are, again, lots of variables in this depending on private and public schools, length of service, and the subjects taught. Medical school faculty seem, however, on average, to be paid more than most of the professors and considering that many of them need to receive significantly more years of training in specific expertise, this does not sound unreasonable.
I have been thinking about this a great deal. Every time we visit our doctors we are putting our lives into their hands. We seek their guidance, their wisdom, and their care. Our physicians earn our respect and admiration by their caring, by their wisdom, and by their ability to treat us when we are sick and keep us as healthy as we allow them to keep us. When things go horribly wrong, as they eventually do for every one of us, they care for and comfort us. I have, in my life, been blessed by having wonderful physicians who I have both liked and respected and who, I always felt, cared for my well being.
They are educated and trained by people who, on average, are going to make 27 times LESS than the new basketball coach at the University of Kentucky. If we put our money not only where are mouths are, but where our priorities are than this would seem to mean that we value watching basketball over not only our own health and well being, but that of our loved ones.
John Calipari might be a great guy and a great coach, but this story seems to be a reminder that as a society our priorities seem to be very bizarre indeed.