President advocates raise despite cuts

Updated: May 30, 2009, 8:17 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Bernie Machen, president of the University of Florida, believes football coach Urban Meyer deserves a raise that reflects his achievements.

"He should be [the SEC's highest-paid coach]," Machen said, according to the Orlando Sentinel. "He's the best."

[+] EnlargeUrban Meyer
Douglas Jones/US PresswireUrban Meyer has led Florida to two national titles.

Meyer, who has led the Gators to national titles in two of the past three seasons, currently earns $3.25 million a year. He and the school agreed on a six-year, $19.5 million contract in 2007.

On Tuesday, the school's trustees approved $42.2 million in budget cuts for the next year, as the university faces its greatest funding crisis in almost four decades. The cuts are in addition to $69 million that has been stripped from the budget the past two years.

Machen told the Sentinel on Friday that because the cuts had been finalized, the state of the Gators' coaching contracts could be updated in the next month.

Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley said he has not contacted Meyer regarding the contract, according to the Sentinel.

"I haven't had any conversations with Urban on that," Foley said, the Sentinel reported.

There is a hitch in Machen's projections. LSU coach Les Miles is the conference's top-paid coach, at $3.751 million a year, and he has an escalator clause in his deal that ensures he remains that way.

Machen told the Sentinel that Florida athletics had contributed $6 million to the university's academics.

"Especially in a dynamic business like athletics, you invest a lot of resources and time in something," Machen said, according to the newspaper. "It may not pay off for three or four or five years, but if you stop, then it's just going to slow you down. ... I really believe, No. 1, we've got the best athletics program in the country."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.