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Three highest-paid Pentagon officials are all football coaches

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Robby Soave
Reporter

The three highest-compensated employees on the Pentagon payroll are the Army, Navy and Air Force football coaches, according to a recent report.

Taking note of various statistics that paint a picture of a healthy, wealthy America for the summer edition of Chicago Life magazine, writer Allen Sanderson observed that Air Force football coach Troy Calhoun, Navy football coach Ken Niumatalolo and Army football coach Rich Ellerson made more money than any other Pentagon-employed government official.

Calhoun makes $882,000 a year. Niumatalolo makes $1.6 million a year. And Ellerson makes $600,000 a year.

The news that football coaches make more than the people charged with confronting security threats to the U.S. may come as a shock, but it is actually not so surprising. College football and basketball coaches are typically the highest paid public employees in each state. Deadspin reported recently that coaches took home the biggest public paychecks in 40 of the 50 states. The top grossers in the other states were all deans or presidents at public universities.

Most of the high-grossing sports coaches at public universities are paid from funds that they generate from coaching successful athletic teams, rather than from the public dole. Still, college sports programs rarely generate money for the academic side of the institution, and are often criticized for being a net drain on most public universities. Most college sports programs are only able to turn a profit when student fees and university subsidies are factored in, according to data provided by ESPN.com.

At a time when the high cost of attending college has left the average student with over $25,000 worth of debt, lucrative compensation packages for top administrators at taxpayer-funded universities are coming under increased public scrutiny.

The Army athletic programs, however, turn a profit, according to Deadspin.

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