Coaches hunt big cash on title weekend
What’s the best way to reward the man who makes more money than any coach in college sports?
Give him the opportunity to make even more money, of course.
That’s what Alabama did this summer as part of a new contract with Nick Saban, who heads into Saturday’s Southeastern Conference championship football game with a chance to have the greatest incentive-bonus haul of his Crimson Tide career.
In addition to providing Saban with $8.3 million in basic annual compensation this season, the agreement increased his maximum annual bonus payout to $1.1 million from the $700,000 ceiling that had been in place since he began working for Alabama in 2007.
All of the increase came in the amount Saban can get for winning the national championship, which now stands at $800,000. The payouts for lower levels of success in the College Football Playoff system also were increased. Saban already has secured $165,000 in bonuses, and, really, it’s $275,000 because it seems inconceivable that Alabama (12-0) would be left out of all six bowl games affiliated with the College Football Playoff even if it loses to Georgia on Saturday.
He would bump his total to $525,000 by winning on Saturday.
He gets $50,000 for winning the SEC title, in addition to the $75,000 he’s gotten for the team reaching the title game.
And he gets $400,000 if Alabama plays in a College Football Playoff semifinal, rather than lesser amounts he would get if the team played in a nonCollege Football Playoff bowl game or a College Football Playoff non-semifinal.
Each subsequent victory would give Saban another $200,000.
But head coaches aren’t the only ones benefiting as championships, bowl invitations and College Football Playoff bids are determined. Bonuses also will be going to assistant coaches and other athletics administrators and staff members.
Below are details of bonuses achieved and available to head coaches whose teams are in contention for the CFP semifinals, based on documents obtained by USA TODAY.
Brian Kelly’s contract with Notre Dame, a private school, was not available.
❚ Alabama’s Nick Saban Has …
❚ $90,000: Play in Citrus, Outback, TaxSlayer Gator, Music City, Texas, Belk or Liberty bowls
❚ $75,000: Play in SEC title game Can get …
❚ $50,000: Win SEC title game One of the following:
❚ $110,000: Play in CFP non-semifinal
❚ $310,000: Play in CFP semifinal
❚ $510,000: Play in CFP title game
❚ $710,000: Win CFP title
❚ Clemson’s Dabo Swinney Has …
❚ $50,000: Play in non-CFP bowl game with at least eight regular-season wins
❚ $50,000: Play in Conference title game Can get …
❚ $150,000: Win ACC title One of the following
❚ $50,000: Play in CFP non-semifinal
❚ $150,000: Play in CFP semifinal
❚ $200,000: Play in CFP title game
❚ $250,000: Win CFP title
❚ Georgia’s Kirby Smart Has …
❚ $100,000: Play in SEC title game
❚ $75,000: Play in Outback, TaxSlayer Gator, Music City, Texas, Belk or Liberty bowls Can get …
❚ $125,000: Win SEC title One of the following:
❚ $25,000: Play in Citrus Bowl
❚ $100,000: Play in CFP non-semifinal
❚ $175,000: Play in CFP semifinal
❚ $425,000: Play in CFP title game Atlantic Coast
❚ $625,000: Wins CFP title
❚ Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley Has …
❚ $25,000: Play game
❚ $50,000: Play in Big 12 title game Can get …
❚ $25,000: Win Big 12 title One of the following:
❚ $50,000: Play in a CFP-affiliated game
❚ $100,000: Win a CFP non-semifinal
❚ $150,000: Play in CFP title game
❚ $250,000: Win CFP title
❚ Ohio State’s Urban Meyer Has …
❚ $50,000: Big Ten East champ Can get …
❚ $100,000: Win Big Ten title game One of the following:
❚ $200,000: Play in CFP non-semifinal
❚ $250,000: Play in CFP semifinal
❚ $350,000: Play in CFP title game For all coaches, this does not take into account contingencies that could alter or prevent payment of bonuses (i.e. academic achievement, coach’s departure, future investigations and/or sanctions). Does not include bonuses for coaching honors, team academics/ citizenship/community service, or the value of tickets and perks tied to participation in postseason games. in non-CFP bowl Division