Geno Auriemma is one of the best sports coaches in the history of this country, and he makes about $2 million a year. He has said that he would be willing to give up his pay to help balance the state budget because he is worried about how the state would pay for education. He has adult children, but a story by ESPN says that Auriemma wants to put a spotlight on affordable public education for kids. You can fire back and say that the sports programs pay for themselves, but that is not the point here. At what point will someone who is obviously rich stand up and say that their money is less important than how a kid gets an education?

Yes, sports brings money

Sports brings money and popularity to every school that has prominent programs, but those programs pay a lot of money to very few people to run them. You may be right that the University of Alabama can afford to pay Nick Saban around $10 million a year to coach football, but it is hard to respect Nick Saban's salary when the state of Alabama is one of the worst states in national education rankings.

The same could be said for all the money Mark Richt once made at Georgia while the state stopped raises for teachers, school systems closed buildings, and teachers were being laid off every year. On a personal note, this writer was once a teacher in Georgia, and Mark Richt had a large contract extension announced the same day a school staffer was told they were being laid off.

It seems that Mark Richt did not need that money as much as the lowly-paid school staffer. How much money was Les Miles making at LSU while the state was mired in education cuts? These coaches have to put their money where their mouth is, and Gene Auriemma has done that.

Balancing budgets with big dollars

Geno Auriemma will not balance the budget in Connecticut, but he will shine a light on what people should be doing to make the problem better.

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If everyone were to give back just a little bit for the sake of the kids of the state, the state would have solved their problems already. On top of that, the athletes at the schools are not paid, yet it is their performance that makes these coaches all their money. A lucky play here and there is often the difference between winning and losing.

More people need to set examples

Other coaches at other schools around the country need to take a look at how they are swimming in money and realize that they could do their own part to help. Starting a charity is not enough. These guys need to show that they understand that the optics of their contracts are bad.