Jim Calhoun, head coach of the University of Connecticut men's basketball team, made headlines this week when he launched into a tirade against a political blogger who questioned him about his $1.6 million salary.
"No one should be surprised that Calhoun makes $1.6 million a year, plus endorsement income," sportswriter Stefan Fatsis tells NPR's Michele Norris. "But Connecticut is facing a budget deficit of more than $1 billion."
Calhoun, UConn's football and women's basketball coaches are three highest-paid state employees, Fatsis says, adding Calhoun's outburst reopens a conversation about what the priorities of a state-run university should be.
"In the best of times, big-money college sports is an inflammatory topic," Fatsis says. "In this economy, comments like Calhoun's are gasoline."