Gawker has already reported on economist Paul Krugman's new job where he'll make a $225,000 yearly salary at CUNY. (He doesn't have to teach the first year!) The bulk of his job will entail continuing his research on income inequality.
Is it ironic or unfair or both? Debatable. Yes, Krugman is raking in six figures for doing what he's already doing in addition to his speaking fees, the New York Times gig, and whatever else he does on the side. That's a lot of money even for New York City. But CUNY could require him to headline a few fundraisers and earn back his income and a whole lot more.
Yes, $225,000 seems like a lot, especially when it's over four times what the average American household makes. But in comparison to what college coaches make, $225,000 is a pittance.
Football and basketball are the two most popular sports, and the top 25 highest paid coaches in each sport do not make less than a million. (Those figures alone should make Hamilton Nolan weep.) Although some of those coaches work at privately-funded institutions, education still remains a resource that benefits the general public. The taxpayer is still involved, although not as directly as publicly-funded universities. While these two sports do make some profit, the money isn't that great.
Much like high CEO pay doesn't always correlate to positive corporate growth, the same can be for university coaches. If schools are just breaking even or taking a loss, then that's foolish because at some point the taxpayer, a donor or both are going to have to foot the bill.
Salaries for university presidents aren't as as high, but they're also questionable. For example, Graham Spanier was the 5th highest paid university president in the country at $545,016 before he was ousted at Penn State. He never made as much as Joe Paterno though.
Is Paul Krugman overpaid? The answer is relative to how people see his value. But in comparison to university leaders across the country, he can be considered a low earner.