Alabama’s Nick Saban and Clemson’s Dabo Swinney may get more money thanks to new level of high-dollar coaching deals

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The new agreements, totaling more than $375 million, have turned the salaries of top head coaches in the Football Bowl subdivision into a new stratospheric one, leading to the first nine-figure contract for a public-school coach. LSU Hires Brian Kelly,

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Since September, four coaches from public universities — Kelly, Michigan State’s Mel Tucker, Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fischer and Penn State’s James Franklin — have signed 10-year deals that total value, including new deals. The terms are the biggest in the history of college football. and contract extension.

It’s knocked one of the biggest names in the game, Clemson’s Dabo Swinney, down the list of college football’s highest-paid coaches—and it’s brought another, Alabama’s Nick Saban, much closer to the lead pack. Have given. But it may not last long.


Contracts modified within the past 2 1/2 years include provisions that may require Alabama and Clemson to renegotiate compensation packages to reflect a rapidly changing market, and Saban and Swinney at FBS. Can place at or near the top of the highest paid coaches. And those arrangements may also have to do with the wild card of a top-paying private school (Southern California with Lincoln Riley), an elite-level school still looking for a coach (Oklahoma) and another who May soon be in talks again with his current coach (Georgia).

While schools regularly rework existing contracts to reward successful seasons or prevent opportunities outside coaching, the difference in this case is that Alabama and Clemson are paid in annual salaries to Saban and Swine, respectively. may need to be increased.

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Saban’s deal, which was renegotiated in August 2021, says that starting on February 1, 2022 and every February 1 thereafter, parties in the SEC “to determine market trends regarding head football coach compensation”. will necessarily meet for a long time”. and FBS.

at that time, if what the contract saysSaban’s “total guaranteed annual compensation” is less than the average of the three highest-paid SEC coaches or similar figures for the five highest-paid FBS coaches, prompting Alabama to agree to increase Saban’s guaranteed annual compensation to more than those two. Will happen. Average.

The contract’s definition of “total guaranteed annual compensation” is not precise, but states that it is “as the terminology is generally understood and defined within the industry.”

Alabama did not respond to a request for comment from Granthshala Sports on Saban’s contract language.

In addition to Kelly’s contract at LSU, this valuation could be affected byA new contract likely for Kirby Smart of Georgia, who has Bulldogs in the mix for the program’s first national championship since 1980.

The financial terms of Smart’s current deal were put in place until January 2018 and are scheduled to run through December 31, 2024. Currently, he is set to make $7.2 million for the 2022 season—or $2 million less than Fisher and $2.3 million less than Tucker and Kelly.

Saban is earning $9.5 million during the 2021–22 year, which ends on February 28, with a total increase over the period of a deal signed through 2028–29: $9.9 million in 2022–23, 2023–24 $10.3 million in 2024-25, $11.1 million in 2025-26, $10.7 million in 2026-27, $11.1 million in 2027-28 and $11.5 million in 2028-29.

Saban’s annual compensation through 2025-26 includes a full bonus of $800,000 payable at the end of each fiscal year.

Swine’s current contract with Clemson began in 2019 and is set to expire on December 31, 2028. It includes a provision that says, starting with the 2022 season, the parties must complete “a good faith review and negotiation of total compensation” of their deal. Should the Tigers reach the semifinals of the College Football Playoffs?

If, after this review, Clemson does not offer to make up Swine’s average compensation per year over the remainder of the contract, at least the third-highest of head coaches in the schools qualified for the playoffs, Clemson will be awarded Clemson’s buyout. will have to forgive. outstanding if he took another college head coaching job.

Swine is set to make $8.5 million in 2022. They are set to average $9.58 million from 2023 to 2028, up from $9.41 million if the $1 million retention payment is counted in 2023.

Somehow, Swinney will chase Saban and Kelly, and he’ll literally be with Fischer as well. And, again, Georgia is likely to renegotiate Smart’s deal.

An unknown factor is the contract of Lincoln Riley, a former Oklahoma coach in Southern California, and whether Alabama or Clemson would have access to that information.

Most private-school coaching contracts include non-disclosure provisions. And because of IRS procedures regarding nonprofit organizations’ tax filings, it’s likely that little will be known about Riley’s annual salary from USC until May 2024.

Follow College Journalists Paul Myerberg And Steve Berkowitz on Twitter.

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