With apologies to Tony Danza: Who’s the boss?
At Clemson University, the boss is President Jim Clements.
So why does that boss make only $775,000, much less than not just the head football coach (Dabo Swinney, $3.3 million) but an assistant football coach (Brent Venables, $1.35 million per season under the defensive coordinator’s new four-year deal)?
Clements, during a Wednesday visit to this newspaper, laughed off that pay gap, in which Clemson is far from alone. But he also acknowledged that major college sports is “a big business, and it’s a national discussion.”
He stressed, too, that Clemson’s sports program is “self-supporting.”
That national discussion about the big business of major college sports will resume this week at the NCAA Convention in Washington, D.C. Clements will arrive there Friday as one of many university presidents exploring possible regulation changes.
The College Football Playoff’s inaugural success has generated not just soaring revenue but rising momentum for proposals to share more of the wealth with the players drawing spectators into stadiums and viewers to TV screens.
Clements’ perspective is enhanced by his nearly five years as president at another big-time sports school, West Virginia University, before taking over at Clemson 13 months ago.
He told us that higher “cost of attendance” stipends will be on the agenda at the NCAA meeting. As he framed it: “What is the real full cost for a student-athlete to attend? What are all the things that they would need?”
And Clements, the first Clemson president whose last name starts with “Clem,” bragged about the school’s impressive rankings — and not just in football:
“Our student-athletes, if I have my data right, out of all the public universities in the country have the third-highest graduation success rates. So our student-athletes graduate. They represent the university well.”
Clements does have his data right, according to statistics released by the NCAA in October.
Of course, we justifiably proud Clemson grads want those student-athletes to win in the sporting arenas, too — especially the big games.
So congratulations to President Clements for getting by on a mere $775,000 a year, seeking a proper academic-athletic balance, and striving to maintain what he calls Clemson’s “world-class” status as one of the nation’s top 20 public universities as judged by U.S. News & World Report.
And hey, he’s off to a perfect start on this huge-stakes front:
The Tigers are 1-0 in football against South Carolina during his Clemson tenure.
Tiger, Gamecock, Bulldog, Cougar, Buccaneer, RiverDog, Battery, Stingray, Paladin, Chanticleer, Blue Hose and all other brands of sports fans — and non-fans — should team up to help reduce our state’s shamefully high rate of criminal domestic violence.
Such unity was on reassuring display at Tuesday’s Statehouse rally for reform of CDV laws. Initiated by S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson, the event featured assorted lawmakers, law enforcers, victims and victim’s advocates.
But should we need such a rally? Really?
Sure, shining a light on ugly CDV realities, as The Post and Courier’s “Till death do us part” series keeps doing, helps more fully identify this issue — a vital step toward solving any problem.
Sure, rallying the troops for this overdue mission galvanizes the cause.
Sure, this is a complex issue.
Still, this simple, maddening question persists:
Why are so many folks so lowdown that they don’t already know better than to commit, condone or enable domestic violence?
And this appalling brutality — and ignorance — aren’t confined to South Carolina.
Ponder the inherent, galling message sent by a series of “Speechless” public service announcements starring, among others, current and former NFL players.
Produced by nomore.org, the TV spots show one athlete after another struggling — yet failing — to speak despite appearing as if they have something important that they very much want to say.
The answer comes when viewers see these written words on an otherwise blank screen:
“Domestic violence and sexual assault are hard subjects for everyone to talk about.”
Then come these printed words: “Help us start the conversation.”
OK, here’s one direct way to “start the conversation” about domestic violence and sexual assault:
Any man who hits, kicks, chokes or otherwise physically abuses a woman is not just a wretched excuse for a man. He’s a violent criminal.
If such a sorry sample of the male gender does physically abuse a woman, he should suffer serious legal consequences.
And yes, the same penalties for perpetrators — and protections for victims — should apply across gender lines.
What’s so hard about that?
Frank Wooten is assistant editor of The Post and Courier. His email is email@example.com.