Dr. Donald W. Klopf

University of Hawaii

Dr. James C. McCroskey

Pennsylvania State University

The response of coaches and schools to the previously published information regarding salaries, work loads, and fees has been tremendous and most gratifying. On no other article have we received as many requests for additional information. It seems that NFL coaches are highly interested in that filthy lucre called money.

We shall try to answer each inquiry with the best information we have. Meanwhile, here is another fine article discussing salary and work load from a little different point of view than that previously taken. The article also covers areas of inquiry which we have not previously discussed in our publication.

Many of the coaches indicate that they are using this information as a bargaining tool with their local boards of education and administrations. We hope that they and you are successful and that this information will be helpful in indicating weaknesses in our forensics program throughout the nation.

Most National Forensic League sponsors are interested in their counterparts in other schools. They tend to be curious about things like the salary, training, and experience of their fellow sponsors. In the Spring of 1963 a survey was conducted in order to discover certain data of this type. This is a report of the information obtained by that survey.

A questionnaire which consisted of items suggested by ten debate coaches and five administrative officers was the device used to secure the data. Twenty high school and college debate coaches pre-tested the questionnaire. Several additions and changes recommended by them were incorporated into the instrument. Then, it was mailed to the sponsors of the 195 NFL chapters which Bruno Jacob, NFL Executive Secretary, indicated were the largest chapters, i.e. those with 65 or more members and degrees on record. One hundred forty-nine (76.4%) responded.

The replies were classified according to four geographical regions--East, South, Midwest, and Farwest. Seventeen percent of the replies came from the East, 13% from the South, 43% from the Midwest, and 27% from the Farwest. This percentage distribution of replies closely approximates the geographical distribution of the original mailing.

The results of the survey are contained in the tables below. They are reported by regions in percentages rounded to the nearest percent.

Table 1 reports the distribution of respondents by approximate enrollment in their schools. Sixty-five percent of the respondents represent schools with enrollments of over 1000 students. The Farwest was the largest percent, 75% in this category; the East has the smallest, 50%.

Table 2 indicates the respondents' coaching positions. Fifty-two percent are the "head coach," 43% the "only coach," and 4% are "one of several coaches." Consequently, 56% (the 52% who are "head coach" and 4% "one of several coaches") of the sponsors have some assistance with their coaching chores, an encouraging sign to those concerned with the additional teaching load extra-curricular activities entail. Noteworthy, also, is the 1% of the respondents who do not coach but nevertheless sponsor NFL chapters.


Appropriate Enrollment of Respondents' Schools

Area 1-500% 500-1000% Over 1000%
East 19 31 50
South 15 25 60
Midwest 13 22 65
Farwest 5 20 75
Total 12 23 65


Respondents' Coaching Positions

Area Head Coach % Only Coach % One of Several % Not A Coach %
East 35 50 15 ---
South 45 45 10 ---
Midwest 61 37 1 1
Farwest 53 47 --- ---
Total 52 43 4 1

An examination of Table 3, the educational background of the respondents, shows a discouraging situation: only 49% of the respondents have a speech degree--17% the bachelors only, 32% the masters. The East, particularly, presents an alarming situation Only 12% of the Eastern respondents have a speech degree--4% the bachelors and 8% the masters. The competent management of an NFL program and the effective instruction of student speakers involves certain professional skills which come with the knowledge and training achieved through the completion of a speech degree.

These same skills can rarely be obtained in another manner. Perhaps further study of NFL sponsors is necessary in order to determine more fully the nature and extent of their speech training. On the basis of the replies reported in Table 3, the problem of inadequate speech background appears acute.


Highest Educational Degree of the Respondents



Speech Masters Other Bachelors Other Masters**
East 4 8 8 31 57
South 25 25 20 30
Midwest 19 46 14 21
Farwest 20 30 15 35
Total 17 32 19 32

*Includes those with a speech bachelor's degree and a master's in another field.

**Does not include those with a speech bachelor's degree and a master's in another field.

A compensating factor may be found in Table 4. Table 4 reports the years of coaching experience of the respondents. Fifty-four percent have under ten years of experience, 29% have between 10-20, and 17% have over 20. A certain degree of stability in the profession is suggested by the 46% of the respondents who have over ten years of experience. This percent, however, may be misleading. In this study only sponsors of the 195 largest NFL chapters were surveyed. This type of chapter may provide more stability than one of a smaller size.TABLE 4

Years of Coaching Experience of Respondents

Area 0-5% 5-10% 10-15% 15-20% Over 20
East 39 23 26 4 8
South 40 25 20 5 10
Midwest 29 19 17 14 21
Farwest 20 32 18 10 20
Total 30 24 19 10 17

Sponsors responding from the East and South have the least coaching experience. Sixty percent of the Eastern and 65% of the Southern replies show sponsors with less than 10 years of experience, percentages which are substantially above the other two areas.

The salary range of the respondents, reported in Table 5, shows considerable variance between the regions, particularly between the South and the Farwest. While 80% of the Southern respondents reported salaries below $6,000, 81% of the farwestern respondents reported salaries above that figure--over half of these over $8000. The national average falls between $6000 and $7000. The Eastern report of 43% who receive salaries less than $4000 appears unusual in comparison to the others. However, two-thirds of these respondents indicated that they are church-affiliated teachers.


Annual Salary Range of Respondents

Below $4000 % $4000-$5000 % $5000-6000 % $6000-7000 % $7000-8000 % Over $8000 %
East 43 4 4 15 15 19
South 5 20 55 10 10 ---
Midwest 6 6 27 14 22 25
Farwest 5 7 7 15 23 43
Total 12 8 22 14 19 25

The average number of hours per week spent in working with debate, shown in Table 6, varied from zero, reported by one sponsor who said that he sponsored NFL but had nothing else to do with the program, to over fifty hours, reported by another sponsor who wrote that in addition to coaching, he taught four classes daily. The most frequent reply here was in the "over 20 hours" category. Many respondents indicated that they received some reduction in teaching load for this work. A nearly equal number indicated that they did not.


Average Number of Hours Spent by Respondents per Week in Debate

Area 0-5 % 5-10 % 10-15 % 15-20 % Over 20 %
East 4 27 31 15 23
South 15 15 20 15 35
Midwest 2 21 19 14 44
Farwest 2 17 28 15 38
Total 4 20 23 15 38

An inverse correlation appears between the number of students in the program and the number of hours the respondent spends in debate work each week. That is, the more students, the less hours spent coaching. The incongruity is explained by the fact that most of the respondents who spent less than 10 hours weekly in the program also are either the head coach or one of several coaches so that the coaching load is shared with several instructors.

The final table, Table 7, reports the area and national professional speech affiliations of the respondents. The table shows that only 32% of the respondents hold membership in a professional speech association in their area and only 24% hold membership in either the Speech Association of America or the American Forensic Association. A few of the respondents belong to both SAA and AFA, but they represent only 6% of the sponsors surveyed. In the south 75% of the sponsors do not belong to either a state or regional professional speech organization and 90% are not members of either SAA or AFA. These facts perhaps suggest weaknesses in the recruiting activities or program interests of the area and national speech organizations. These weaknesses should be a major concern of those groups if they are seeking to be of service to high school speech instructors.


Area and National Professional Speech Affiliation of Respondents

State or Regional Association % American Forensic Association % Speech Association of America %

No National Affiliation %
East 31 19 8 73
South 25 5 5 90
Midwest 37 13 22 65
Farwest 43 13 22 73
Total 32 13 17 76

The data obtained in this survey implies that several serious situations confront those concerned with the speech profession at the high school level. The sample for this analysis comes entirely from the NFL sponsors whose program includes 65 or more members and degrees. Consequently, it may include a higher percentage of better trained, better compensated, and more stable instructors than a larger sample would indicate for the NFL as a whole, or American high schools in general.

Nevertheless, this limited data suggests these serious situations: (1) a need to increase minimum salaries if sponsor of speech programs are to enjoy any acceptable kind of family living standard--particularly in the East and South; (2) a need to increase teaching load restrictions for those who coach; (3) a need to upgrade speech instruction by hiring as coaches college graduates who have speech degrees; and (4) a need to stimulate speech professionalism by encouraging high school instructors to belong to speech associations.

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