USA Today: 17 FBS football coaches will earn more than $3 million this year

Dr. Saturday

USA Today released a its yearly database of the salaries of college football coaches Wednesday which revealed that 17 FBS coaches will make at least $3 million in 2013.

Not surprisingly, Alabama’s Nick Saban topped the list at a total 2013 salary of $5,545,852, with Texas’ Mack Brown right behind Saban at $5,453,750.

What is a surprise though, is the 2013 salary of Bret Bielema, head coach of the 3-6 Arkansas Razorbacks, who are 0-5 in SEC play and may very well go winless in conference play in Bielema’s first season at the helm.

Bielema is pocketing an eye-opening $5,158,863 this year, but that is just a one-year thing, as $1.9 million is related to Bielema’s buyout from his Wisconsin contract.

The same goes for Butch Jones, whose Tennessee figure contains his buyout from Cincinnati. Tennessee clarified Jones' salary, which USA Today reported to be $4,860,000, in a brief release.

The annual base salary for Coach Jones is $2.95 million through a term that runs from the 2013 through 2018 seasons (Dec. 7, 2012 through Feb. 28, 2019). Additionally, Jones received a $500,000 signing bonus upon his hiring. Amortizing that figure over the six-year term, that adds an average of $83,333.33 annually to the contract, arriving at what we consider to be an average annual compensation figure for Jones of $3.03 million.

The article on USA Today's website cited a compensation figure for Jones of $4.86 million, which includes a buyout of $1.4 million and uses a methodology that fails to reflect the realities of the nature of coaching searches and hires.

The $1.4 million buyout figure was in Jones' contract at the University of Cincinnati, which we viewed as a necessary expense for the University of Tennessee to secure his services. The article considers this buyout figure as equitable to wages and adds the $1.4 million, as well as the $500,000 signing bonus, into the 2013 figure it will list for Jones. This results in an inflated, and in our opinion, inaccurate, compensation listing for the initial year of the contract.

Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz is the ninth highest-paid coach at $3,985,000 this year, despite his Hawkeyes seeming to be perpetually stuck in mediocrity over most of the past decade.

Despite only winning three games at Kansas since taking over, Charlie Weis is earning $2,503,727 this season, the 31st most in the country.

Oregon’s Marc Helfrich has his Ducks undefeated and ranked third in the BCS rankings, yet his salary is 56th highest at $1,800,000.

And while I’m sure that Brian Kelly, Weis’ successor at Notre Dame, makes more than what is reported here ($1,088,179), it is still surprising to see him so far down on the list at number 70.

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