Shaka Smart is a terrific coach, and the Illini would do well to unleash him on the state of Illinois and, specifically, Chicago.
And this still being America, Smart ought to milk this process for every penny he can get, forcing the Illini to pay a very heavy price to get him on board.
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He should ask for at least twice what he's collecting at Virginia Commonwealth -- a base salary of $1.2 million -- and if the folks in Champaign are willing to pay it, good for Smart.
That said, there is something very wrong with the collegiate athletic system when the NCAA can seize a $10.8 billion TV contract, but "student-athletes" risk life and limb for receiving free pizza from a booster.
At the same time, Shaka Smart gets bonuses for winning games. Yes, he gets paid more for victories, but a player on his team would lose everything if caught receiving incentives for winning.
According to USA Today, Smart's contract through 2019 earned him $1.15 million this season, plus $125,000 in bonuses for making the NCAA Tournament, winning the first tourney game, national TV appearances and beating rival Richmond.
That's right, specific payments for specific victories.
In addition, each NCAA tourney win is worth $37,500. Smart also receives a $10,000 clothing allowance, plus a car leased for him by the school. Smart is allowed to make his own shoe/apparel deal and run his own basketball camps, items that can net significant cash.
Seriously, good for him. For the hard of reading, if he has competing offers and can drive up the price, that's a dream come true and that has always been the American way.
But then the NCAA can't believe it when an athlete sells memorabilia or accepts a car deal of his own, while the basketball and football factories make millionaires of the people in charge.
It is the eternal NCAA contradiction, and one that suits the bosses well.
If Smart departs VCU before April 30, Smart or the school that hires him owes VCU $800,000, and you can be certain Smart won't be paying that. After April 30, his buyout drops to $700,000.
Smart is owed $180,000 in deferred compensation he would forfeit if he leaves before April 15, and any school that steals Smart would have to pay VCU $250,000 or schedule a two-year, home-and-home series with VCU.
So you have to wonder why Smart would leave for anything less than $2.5 million in base salary, and then the school that signs him will still owe VCU about a million bucks.
That shouldn't be a problem for Illinois, which already has bought out coaches to the tune of $7 million the last few months.
Dialing for dollars
Both Jim Irsay and Peyton Manning insisted it wasn't about the money when they divorced two weeks ago.
No, not at all.
Irsay didn't want to give an injured QB a $28 million bonus in March, which makes complete sense, and the QB wasn't willing to give back something he negotiated in good faith, which also makes total sense.
And now Manning has signed for a reported $90 million in Denver.
Yes, of course, for both the Colts and Manning, it was entirely about money.
Going into the weekend, Rory McIlroy led the PGA Tour in scoring average at 67.53 and Tiger Woods was second at 68.53. Woods was first in total driving and third in proximity to hole.
Woods should be winning already, but the difference is McIlroy was first in scrambling and Woods 12th.
Woods has spent so much time working on getting the ball in the fairway that he has neglected his short game, and until he gets up and down on Sunday and makes some 12-foot putts, he's not going to win tournaments again.
Odds from Bovada to be on the cover of Madden NFL 13: Tim Tebow (5-1), Cam Newton (6-1), Rob Gronkowski (7-1), Victor Cruz (12-1), Calvin Johnson (18-1) and Arian Foster (18-1).
After watching Chris Bosh shoot 3-for-15 with 3 rebounds and 4 turnovers last week against a suffocating Bulls defense, don't you sometimes wonder how Miami ever wins with Bosh on the floor?
From @TheFakeESPN: "BREAKING: Jim Harbaugh sends chocolates and flowers to Alex Smith's house, and an airplane banner reading 'Will you re-sign with me?'"
Matt Moore of NBCSports.com, on the possibility of free agent Derek Fisher joining the Miami Heat: "Would be like the Edge leaving U2 and joining LMFAO."
Sportspickle.com: "Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings tear the ball in half during first practice together."
And finally …
Omaha World-Herald's Brad Dickson: "Randy Moss signed a one-year contract with the 49ers. A possible red flag: After signing, Moss promised to give the team 75 percent."
•Listen to Barry Rozner from 9 a.m. to noon Sundays on the Score's "Hit and Run" show at WSCR 670-AM, and follow him @BarryRozner on Twitter.