College football’s bowl season has been overshadowed by a rash of player abuse allegations that paint a disturbing portrait of big-time coaches. First there was Mark Mangino, who threatened to send a player home to “get shot with your homies,” then Jim Leavitt, who was accused of striking a player, and finally Mike Leach, who was fired for reportedly locking a player in an equipment shed as punishment for “faking” a concussion. So Time asks: are coaches out of control?
Certainly their salaries are. The average coaching salary is up 28% from two years ago, to $1.36 million annually. That money tends to come with pressure to win—at any cost. “It sounds like these guys were doing things the old-fashioned way and got busted,” says one sports sociologist. These types of abuses might not always have seemed appalling, but “society has evolved,” he says. “We shouldn’t be longing for the good old days. Another expert on the subject says coaches tend to live in a bubble. “In the example of Leach, it seems the whole discussion about concussions has apparently passed him by.”