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Wisconsin Athletic Director Barry Alvarez will draw a salary for coaching the Rose Bowl. (PHOTO: Wisconsin Football Facebook)

Alvarez lost a bit of class in Rose Bowl money grab


Class and pornography are pretty much the same thing.

As Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart said about pornography, "I have trouble defining it but I know it when I see it."

The same thing could be said about class. I can't really define it, but I know it when I see it. And I know no-class when I see it.

Welcome to the world of Barry Alvarez.

The University of Wisconsin Athletic Director, a man of near mythic status in Madison, had a chance to really show some high-class style, but instead chose to wallow with the pigs in the pen.

The issue here, of course, is the shocking news that Bret Bielema was leaving Wisconsin to coach at Arkansas. And despite his wish to coach his UW team in the Rose Bowl, Alvarez said "no thanks, we got it from here."

Then, after a day or two of hemming and hawing, Alvarez announced that he, the old coach with bad knees, would hobble off the bench and coach these young men in the biggest game of their lives. He's coached in the Rose Bowl before, winning three of them.

You could hear the sigh of relief from Badgers nation. Barry to the rescue. Bucky was smiling.

So far so good, and then Alvarez, smiling wide, took the step that carried him right into the muck of the biggest mud hole around.

He met with the UW Athletic Board and afterward said, "I'm not doing it for free. I'm getting paid 1/12th of the coach's salary, which is fair."

Bielema was making about $2.6 million so 1/12th of that is about $217,000.

Almost a quarter of a million dollars for coaching one football game that Alvarez probably won't actually do much real coaching. Let's face it, he's just a figurehead and he's going to give the pregame speech.

Now, I don't know how much money Barry Alvarez has. But nobody's holding any benefits for him. His salary as AD is $1 million a year. He's probably got more money than any 10 of us who are reading this column. He needs another $217,000 like I need another Big Mac.

What this smacks of is greed, ugly, self-motivated greed. Scrooge is real and he's dressed in UW colors. Alvarez himself decided he'd be the one to get this job and pay himself all this cash.

It wouldn't surprise me if there was some arcane rule somewhere in the books that required Alvarez to take the money.

If he wanted to be a real leader, remain a beloved figure, he should just give the money away.

There's a big issue about how UW can't afford to pay assistant coaches enough to attract the best. Well, divide that quarter million among all the assistants as a bonus.

Give it to a charity. Give it to a scholarship program. Buy a quarter million brats for the homeless football fans in Madison.

But don't take the money. Or if you have to take it, give it away.

Putting it in your pocket, when you were the one who decided you got this temp job, just smells like bad Christmas pudding.


Talkbacks

Victor Golf | Dec. 12, 2012 at 10:39 a.m. (report)

I would hardly call it a "cash grab". But I guess that the kind of thing you write when you are going for yet another "attention grab".

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beefsupreme | Dec. 12, 2012 at 8:39 a.m. (report)

Come on Dave, tackle some real issues. Come out pro marijuana and make me want to kill myself for agreeing with you on something.

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matsfan | Dec. 11, 2012 at 9:56 p.m. (report)

Quite simply, possibly the dumbest perspective I have ever read on a sports-related topic.

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AndrewJ | Dec. 11, 2012 at 3:51 p.m. (report)

buck, you should get a job here at OM.C. With top notch ideas like waiting for all the information to come out, there's no telling how far you could go. Nice work! With the information now available, it sounds like Barry will get paid $203,500 for his months work, or about 4% less than the average salary of his peers also coaching in BCS games. Beyond fair compensation.

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buck | Dec. 11, 2012 at 3:01 p.m. (report)

If Begel would have bothered to wait for all the facts to come in (I can dream, right), he would have seen that Barry A will be making 90 % of the Head Coach's already approved salary for the month he is coaching, but is only receiving 10% of his normal Athletic Director salary. Sounds completely fair to me.

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