Many college coaches have not held back their disdain for athletes’ newfound financial freedoms since the advent of widespread rules governing NIL rights. None, however, have done so with a turn of phrase quite like the one Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz used Tuesday morning at the SEC’s meetings in Destin, Fla.
Drinkwitz was asked about NIL and pointed out that the rules allowed some players to make more than his pediatrician brother-in-law, adding, “He saves lives.” It was the kind of comment that might have found a more receptive audience had Drinkwitz’s own salary—$4 million—not been a matter of public record.
Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz says college players, thru NIL, are making more money than his brother-in-law, who is a pediatrician. “He saves lives.”— Ross Dellenger (@RossDellenger) May 30, 2023
Drinkwitz was roundly ridiculed for his comparison, especially in the wake of his pedestrian 17–9 record since the Tigers hired him in Dec. 2019.
Eli Drinkwitz got a contract extension and a $2 million raise last season, four days after losing to Kentucky and three days before his Missouri team lost by 42 points against Tennessee https://t.co/Vfm7F0Xoh7— Will Backus (@will_backus1) May 30, 2023
Many noted that the structure of his contract will see his salary escalate in future seasons.
Eli Drinkwitz is 17-19 as the head coach at #Mizzou. He was awarded a new contract at the end of last season which will pay him $6 million (2023), $6.25 million (2024), $6.5 million (2025), $6.75 million (2026) and $7 million (2027).— Brandon Kiley (@BKSportsTalk) May 30, 2023
But, yeah. https://t.co/uAxeKnUGJE
Some found humor in Drinkwitz's lack of self-awareness.
ESPN personality Myron Medcalf weighed in, comparing Drinkwitz’s salary to that of another local public official in Columbia, Mo.
Clayton Farr Jr. is the chief of the fire department in Colombia, Missouri. He makes $146,000 a year. Eli Drinkwitz will make $6 million this year or more than 41 times what the leader of the life-saving fire department gets. Somebody should ask the Missouri coach about that one.— Myron Medcalf (@MedcalfByESPN) May 30, 2023