Sports Illustrated: In college sports, a top coach like Nick Saban is worth every penny
It's hard to quantify these things, but when you factor in Alabama's revenue, fund-raising, general alumni happiness, and how Crimson Tide victories improve the mental health of the populace, which must lower the state unemployment rate ... well, again, it's hard to quantify. But if Saban demanded $10 million per season, would Alabama's administrators really stand on principle and let him walk away? I doubt it. And if they did, fans would be furious at those administrators. They would be putting their jobs at risk.
I agree with those that say in terms of market value, Saban is "underpaid." He could probably hold out for more than he's going to get if he wanted too and Bama would still be happy to pay him. Compared to where Alabama was before, he's really made that brand what it was in the previous two decades and most prolonged success since the Bear.
It's hard to compare coaches in different sports. But we are nearing the point when top-level college coaching is a more lucrative gig than coaching the pros. That is astounding, in a sense -- pro teams play more games, they get higher TV ratings, and they don't have to support academic advisors or pay for volleyball scholarships.