Furlough, Schmerlough — I’m A College FB Coach

So the economy has been a barrel of laughs lately, am I right folks? If you’re unlucky enough to be familiar with the term “mandatory furlough days,” then chances are you work at a newspaper, or for the government. Heck, I guess these are turning up in just about every type of business, come to think of it. Yes, it sucks.

Rick Neuheisal

(Too important to be furloughed)

But if you’re a California State University football coach, the government is willing to work with you. Other state employees are currently required to take two unpaid furlough days a month. But football coaches, who presumably put in long hours in the fall and sleep on their office sofas (your team may vary), simply can’t get away!

Of course most of us have no say in which days we’re furloughed; you’re just told to stay home on Tuesday. Not so if you’re responsible for figuring out how to beat Boise State. From the SAN DIEGO UNION TRIBUNE:

At SDSU, coaches can delay furloughs until the offseason. San Jose State came up with a furlough schedule in athletics that will allow football coaches to take furloughs on the Fridays before their two bye weeks: Oct. 2 and Oct. 23. The next furloughs for SJSU athletics are scheduled for after the season in December. At Fresno, Pat Hill and his staff will take seven of the 24 furloughs in season (since August) but just one during a game week: the Monday before the Bulldogs play at New Mexico State Oct. 24. Hill and his staff will take two next week during a bye week.

The furloughs amount to a 10 percent pay cut and will help the CSU reduce $275 million in compensation costs. The CSU is facing a $564 million budget deficit and also has announced student-fee increases and other cuts to help make up for it.

UCLA’s Rick Neuheisel has volunteered to take a 10 percent pay cut this season, a fine gesture considering the UC system is facing an $813 million deficit. But at CSU schools, even coaches who volunteer for a pay cut must also take their furlough days (which are determined on a sliding scale depending on how much you make). Getting to choose what days those are softens the blow, however.

Last year, a friend of mine who works as a college sports editor at a large newspaper was forced to take furlough days on the busiest weekend of the year in college football. Nothing you can do, he figured; it’s this damn economy. Too bad he covers football instead of coaching it.