Pete Gillen: Coaching Salaries Are Part Of The Problem; Money Corrupts

Taz and the Moose
March 09, 2018 - 11:21 am

Photo by Getty Images

March is the best time of year for college basketball, but this year feels a little different – not because the game lacks a true Goliath, but because of the ongoing FBI probe into the corruption of the sport.

“It’s a mess right now,” CBS Sports college basketball analyst Pete Gillen said on Taz & The Moose. “There’s so many problems and uncertainty. The one-and-done is a joke. I think they should drop it. It only applies to maybe 10 or 12 players at the most, so I think if those talented players want to go, let them go. Let the NBA handle it. They don’t go to class. They maybe take online classes the first semester. They don’t even go the second semester. So academically, it’s a farce. It’s make-believe.”



The root of the problem, of course, is money, and Gillen – a former head coach at Xavier, Providence, and Virginia – blames coaches’ salaries more than anything.

“The problem right now is money,” he said. “The coaches are making so much money. When I coached, I made three times what Terry Holland, my boss at Virginia, (made). He was a much better coach than me. He went to the Final Four with Ralph Sampson and had great success. I made three times what he made. These coaches are making thee and four times what I made. They’re making $2.8 million, $3.2 million, $1.9 million. The assistants are making $700,000 or $800,000. Not at every school, but at certain schools, big schools.”

Those coaches want to keep their salaries. So if they have to pay a recruit, say, $100,000 to play for them, they will. Consider the alternative: losing recruits, losing games and, eventually, getting fired.

“They don’t want to lose the money,” Gillen said. “‘Hey, I want to keep going. Whatever it takes to do this, I’m going to do it. If I have to break the law, I’ll break the law. I want to . . . (keep making a high salary).’ That’s the sad part. Money corrupts. I think that’s the reason we’re in this dilemma. They’re making so much money and they want to keep it going.”

Gillen, 70, believes the NCAA needs to levy stronger punishments against coaches and programs that cheat. If a coach is caught cheating, Gillen said, ban him from the sport for three or four years.

“It’s still going to happen, but I think that will stop things,” Gillen said. “The NCAA is not strong enough when they catch somebody that makes an egregious problem.”