I enrolled at the University of North Texas right in time to watch Darrell Dickey sink into the earth. The football coach would finish 2-9 that year, right after a 7-5 season—and almost 2,000 rushing yards from rookie Jamario Thomas—got them their fourth straight bowl berth. He’d lose his job two years later, and then Todd Dodge got brought up from Southlake and stunk up Fouts Field so bad that the sports program had to launch a dubiously-funded effort for a new stadium to get us to talk about something else. (Fouts was also really old.) When my friends and I would go to games, we’d spend more time in the parking lot than in Fouts. It was bad football. (But Tobe Nwigwe was on the team, and he is now terrific, and running back Patrick Cobbs got some years as a backup for the Dolphins and I think the Saints. OK, no more parenthesis, I promise.)
I bring this up because current coach Seth Littrell is apparently one of just 15 coaches at public universities who has personal access to a private jet written into their contract, according to USA Today. That’s use of a plane not for recruiting or work-related endeavors, but for “family vacations or other leisure trips.” In addition to his $1.865 million salary, Littrell gets $100,000 a year that goes toward “private aircraft charter flight services.” Not bad!
Littrell is among good company: six coaches are in the Big Ten and five are in the SEC. Littrell is … in Conference USA. He’s 26-21 since 2016, with three bowl appearances but no wins. That’s definitely a jump in quality, but is it worth shelling out $100,000 in university funds so he can take some trips?
Read more: https://www.dmagazine.com/frontburner/2019/10/unt-is-one-of-15-schools-that-gives-its-football-coach-private-jet-access/
Since the late 1960s, University of North Texas sports teams have been known as the Mean Green, in honor of UNT defensive tackle and future NFL and advertising star “Mean” Joe Greene. UNT trademarked the name in 2011.
To the consternation of some alumni and local sports broadcasters, that didn’t prevent ESPN from billing Michigan State (known by the far lamer and more generic “Spartans”) as the Mean Green in a promo for MSU’s upcoming game against the University of Michigan (“Wolverines,” also wacker than “Mean Green.”)
As of Tuesday night, the same promo had also ticked off UNT athletics director Wren Baker, a man blessed with three things: the righteous little-guy fury of an often overlooked athletics department, the legal protections of a registered trademark, and a Twitter account allowed to surpass the traditional 140-character limit.
We may still get a Mean Green grudge match out of this, as Baker told the Lansing State Journal in Michigan that North Texas would consider scheduling a game against Michigan State.
read more: https://www.dmagazine.com/frontburner/2017/10/north-texas-mean-green-michigan-state/
The Texas Tribune offers a look at the money being spent on athletics by Texas public universities. Aside perennial big-time programs at Texas A&M, Texas Tech, and the University of Texas at Austin, whose teams each generate nearly $200 million in annual revenue, these schools are heavily subsidizing their quest for glory on the playing field.
The University of North Texas brings in more than $11 million in revenue but also runs up expenses totaling more than $31 million. Its students are asked to subsidize the difference in the form of additional dedicated fees ($165 per semester):
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