Friday, September 5, 2008

Professors And Sluggers As Free Agents

For those of you who work in academe and who are reading this blog, you must read Jeffrey Standen's post (The Sports Law Professor: All's Not Perfect With Sports Either) comparing free agency in baseball with free agency among professors.

Among other things, Standen argues (rightly I believe) that just as baseball players are disproportionately rewarded for home runs, professors are disproportionately compensated for their high-profile publications (and by extension, their reputations)--fielding, teaching, and collegiality be damned.

He also suggests that hiring a big reputation professor is less risky than hiring "Manny being Manny." The professor's reputation endures even with a few slim years whereas Manny's value plummets if he quits going yard 40-plus times a year.

I do wonder if I could get a contract that would make me a professorial "closer." I'd just come in at the end of semesters and clean up some other faculty member's class and get them to the final exam. Maybe I could be a faculty set-up man and make a million five a year for answering a tough left-hander's question about three weeks before the end of the term. And maybe I could get a shoe-deal on the side.

Granted, Standen is talking about law professors, so comparisons to MLB and NBA players are probably apt. In the humanities, though, we should probably think of ourselves as being on the professional lumberjack circuit. I should start looking for an endorsement deal with a company that makes boot laces...

And since publishing = home runs, will blog publishing make me a more desirable free agent? The magic 8-ball in the dean's office tells me: "Signs point to NO."

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