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Thursday, October 27, 2016

More coaches hit $3M mark



Salaries, buyout package costs rising in college football

By Steve Berkowitz, Christopher Schnaars and Brent Schroetenboer

October 27, 2016

Ten years ago, when USA TODAY Sports first tracked the compensation for major-college football head coaches, making $3 million was a singular distinction belonging to Oklahoma's Bob Stoops.

This season, there are at least 36 coaches above that threshold -- or, more than half of the 64 at schools in the five wealthiest conferences: the Atlantic Coast, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12 and Southeastern.

Leading the way is Michigan's Jim Harbaugh, whose basic annual pay is $7 million but whose total for this season is $9 million because he drew an extra $2million deferred compensation payment in June.

Defending national champion and No. 1-ranked Alabama's Nick Saban is making nearly $7 million, and Urban Meyer's pay from Ohio State this year edged just above $6million. Stoops is fourth at $5.55million.

On average, head coaches at Power Five conference schools are being paid nearly $3.5million this season. When the season began, there were 20 scheduled to be paid more than $4million, including nine of 14 in the SEC, where the median compensation is nearly $4.2million.

No college football coaches had reached $4 million prior to the 2009 season, and only eight were there as recently as 2013.

One of the nine SEC coaches above that mark this season, LSU's Les Miles, already has been fired -- and his termination pointed to another area of growth. Because he was let go for not winning enough, he was contractually set to walk away with a buyout approaching $10million prior to his obligation to find another job that would generate income offsetting what LSU owes him.

That put him among a group of 33 coaches whose buyouts were set to be at least $8million this year. The leader among that group is Florida State's Jimbo Fisher, who would be owed $33.1million prior to what the university says would be a duty to mitigate. That is slightly more than what Miami (Ohio) spent on its entire athletics program in 2014-15, the most recent year for which schools' annual financial reports to the NCAA are available.

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