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UH Takes Offensive Line on Coach's Salary


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Hat-tip to Hawaii Reporter’s Jim Dooley for reporting that the University of Hawaii is refusing to release the exact salary of new UH football head coach, Norm Chow, citing “privacy concerns.”

This kneejerk instinct for secrecy by government is part of why people are so fed up with up with it. Like it or not, it’s this simple: when you work for the public, the public gets to know how much it is paying you.

If you don’t like that, there is a vast world—dwindling, but still vast—of privately owned businesses where your salary is nobody’s business but your own.

This also caught my eye in Dooley’s report: Chow can, pending UH approval, get paid for “endorsement deals with athletic equipment suppliers.” How is that even ethical for a government manager, under any circumstance?

Can the student-athletes who actually risk their bodies on the field cash in on endorsements? We expect them to be noble volunteers, doing it all for love of the game.

Whether or not you agree that Chow’s salary deserves to be a state secret, you should know that such attitudes in college sports do not occur in a vacuum. One of the most powerful magazine articles I’ve read in the past year was “The Shame of College Sports,” by Taylor Branch, in the October 2011 issue of The Atlantic. It’s a damning, comprehensive overview of the way universities profit off their unpaid sports labor, i.e. student-athletes.

 

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Honolulu Magazine March 2017
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