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Calipari salary is ludicrous

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By Larry Rowell

President Obama, trying to jump start the economy, is using a series of stimulus packages in an effort to save banks and the major auto companies.

President Lee Todd, trying to jump start the Big Blue Nation, is using John Calipari as his stimulus package to save what? Basketball bragging rights?

This hiring move doesn’t have even the patina of hope and encouragement that Kentuckians need to get through the next few years.

In this day of economic turmoil, paying a basketball coach nearly $32 million over a period of eight years is ludicrous.

About as ludicrous as AIG executives receiving millions in bonuses for failing — how much did Billy G. get in the buyout for failing to produce?

Now, the UK Athletic Department is quick to point out that their department is self-funding and donates $1 million a year to non-athletic scholarships.

While that may be a noble gesture, salaries for professors at our state-funded universities aren’t going to see much of a raise this year.

And, after all, as the NCAA TV commercial is quick to point out, “There are 380,000 NCAA student-athletes, and just about all of them will be going pro in something other than sports.”

So employing and justly compensating well-educated professors is a must to properly prepare our young people for the workplace.

What about the rest of the state?

Kentucky’s budget is in the hole to the tune of $456 million — unemployment is at an all-time high and many Kentuckians are losing their homes.

One of our finest flagship newspapers, that has already seen a series of layoffs, spilled more ink about the hiring of Johnny C. during the past week than they did about the G20 Summit or other dire economic issues.

Is this what we need to hitch our wagons to in order to gain hope for the future?

The 1928 Republican Convention issued a statement promising that if everyone voted for Herbert Hoover for president, then there would be “a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage.”

Seven months after Hoover took office, the stock market crashed and this nation entered the Great Depression.

If UK Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart is promising Big Blue fans a SEC championship and at least a Final Four appearance in every pot, he’d better be right this time.

Or, it might just be his job that will be in the proverbial “pot” in two years.

Larry Rowell writes for the Casey County News in Liberty, Ky.