Last December, The Phoenix sports section reported men’s basketball head coach Porter Moser received the fourth highest salary at Loyola during the 2016-17 fiscal year. I was surprised this was news to students. It’s typical of coaches to be among the highest paid at mid-major universities such as Loyola, and it’s especially common at high-major universities.
Back in 2016, 39 states saw university coaches as the highest public paid employee for the entire state, according to 24/7 Wall Street. These are coaches with multi-million dollar contracts. Now, I’m not arguing Moser should be making more money than he currently is — after all, we are a mid-major school — however, $420,211 is a fair salary.
Men’s basketball is a revenue sport. It brings in money for the school, with one source of that revenue being TV rights. The money brought in from aired games can be funneled into other areas of the school.
Ticket sales are another area of revenue for the sport, and while in the past home basketball games haven’t had high attendance, there’s certainly been a change this season. The home game against Illinois State Feb. 24 has completely sold out, according to the ticket office website.
One of the main reasons attendance is up is the success the men’s team has had this season. The team is first in the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC), has a conference record of 13-3 and clinched a share of the regular season title on Sunday. If it wins either of the two games left this season, Loyola will have sole possession of that title.
Moser is someone who isn’t only good at his job. He’s also passionate. He wants students to be in the stands and makes an effort to notice when they show up. After every home game this season, he’s gone over to the student section and thanked students for showing up for their team. Moser personally paid for 100 tickets and two buses to take students to the away game at Valparaiso to cheer on the Ramblers Jan. 21. I was one of the students who went, and Moser not only thanked us from the court but also came to our bus and thanked us again after the game.
He’s a man who cares about his players, cares about the fanbase and wants to produce a team that performs at the top of its class. His position is an important one to the school and is a worthwhile investment.
Successful college sports programs can generate interest and income for a school that can’t be matched by other departments. Winning teams build a common bond among students, alumni, the community and fans. Alumni who have lost contact with their alma mater become reconnected and, in many instances, invest in tickets, team apparel and become donors and, perhaps, benefactors.
A winning basketball program brings a diverse student body together for a common cause, interest and faith that doesn’t have the divisiveness of politics and other issues. Winning programs also bring free publicity to schools, generating much more than revenue by means such as increased interest in applicants. This happens consistently after teams win national championships or even make it deep into the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) tournament.
In recent years, Butler University’s success in the tournament has brought a dramatic increase in applicants across the nation, according to the Washington Post, for what was formerly a little known regional school in Indiana. Loyola has been featured several times on the major local news channels as a result of the basketball team’s success this season.
For the reasons above, the demand for a successful basketball coach reaches levels that provide what some — who maybe haven’t looked at the bigger picture — consider to be exorbitant salaries. I’ve watched many Loyola games from the stands and on TV. I’ve had the chance to meet and interview players and even hear from Moser himself. They are valuable members of the Loyola family, and in the case of the head coach, I’m glad he earns a good living.
Porter Moser has earned his salary for more than just his success on the court, but also the return on investment he has provided and will continue to provide the Loyola community. Not only does the team’s success bring a financial return for the school, it also gives our fine academic institution the attention and recognition it deserves.