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Big Bonuses on the Line for Coaches in SEC Title Game

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USA TODAY

 

There are many uncertainties as college football heads into its weekend of major-conference championship games.

But one thing is for sure: If Auburn wins the Southeastern Conference title Saturday, head coach Gus Malzahn is going to have a chance to end the season with $1.25 million in bonuses.

His counterpart in the game, Georgia's Kirby Smart, could parlay an SEC championship into $1.6 million in bonuses.

In both cases, that's without counting money they can get for coaching honors or team academic performance.

And what's at stake for them is just a portion of what's available to head coaches, assistant coaches and other athletics staff and administrators with championships, bowl and College Football Playoff bids now at hand.

Auburn goes into the weekend No. 2 in the CFP rankings, so a victory will guarantee the Tigers a spot in the CFP semifinals.

Malzahn already has secured $225,000 in bonuses. He would get $375,000 more with a win Saturday. His contract includes language that is unclear regarding bonuses for several postseason outcomes, but in response to an inquiry from USA TODAY, Auburn athletics department spokeswoman Cassie Arner confirmed that the department plans to award Malzahn a $200,000 bonus if the Tigers play in any of the six games affiliated with the CFP. That would be in addition to the $150,000 he would get for winning the SEC title and the $25,000 he would get for the team's 11th victory of the season.

Georgia is No. 6 in the CFP rankings, but beating Auburn would almost certainly lift the Bulldogs into the final top four.

Like Malzahn, Smart has $225,000 in bonuses in hand. Assuming that the SEC championship would be accompanied by placement in the CFP semifinals, a victory Saturday would give Smart $675,000 more. He would add $250,000 for the SEC title and $425,000 for the dramatic upgrade in Georgia's bowl positioning.

The $675,000 alone would be more than the amounts that at least 27 Bowl Subdivision head coaches are making in basic pay this season.

At $900,000 in bonuses, Smart's additional pay would be greater than 40 FBS head coaches' basic compensation for this season.

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. The contracts for Miami (Fla.) and Southern California, both private schools, were not available.

Clemson's Dabo Swinney

Has ...

$50,000: Play in non-CFP bowl game with at least 8 regular-season wins

$50,000: Play in ACC 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

Alabama's Nick Saban

Has ...

$90,000: Play in Outback, TaxSlayer, Music City, Texas, Belk or Liberty bowls

Can get ...

$35,000: Play in CFP non-semifinal

One of the following:

--$110,000: Play in CFP semifinal

--$210,000: Play in CFP title game

--$310,000: Win CFP title

Ohio State's Urban Meyer

Has ...

$50,000: Big Ten East Division champ

Can get ...

$100,000: Win Big Ten title

One of the following:

--$200,000: Play in CFP non-semifinal

--$250,000: Play in CFP semifinal

--$350,000: Play in CFP title game

Auburn's Gus Malzahn

Has ...

$50,000: Play in non-CFP bowl game

$75,000: 10 wins in season

$100,000: Play in SEC title game

Can get ...

One of the following:

--$25,000: 11 wins in season

--$50,000: 12 wins in season

--$75,000: 13 wins in season

$150,000: Win SEC title

$200,000: Play in any CFP-affiliated game

One of the following:

--$300,000: Play in CFP title game

--$500,000: Win CFP title

$100,000: Team ranked among top five in final Amway Coaches or Associated Press media rankings

Oklahoma's Lincoln Riley

Has ...

$25,000: Play in non-CFP bowl game

$50,000: Play in Big 12 title game

Can get ...

$25,000: Win Big 12 title

$50,000: Play in any CFP-affiliated game

One of the following:

--$50,000: Win CFP non-semifinal game

--$100,000: Play in CFP title game

$250,000: Win CFP title

Georgia's Kirby Smart

Has ...

$150,000: Play in SEC title game

$75,000: Play in Outback, TaxSlayer, Music City, Texas, Belk or Liberty bowls

Can get ...

$250,000: Win SEC title

One of the following:

--$25,000: Play in Citrus Bowl

--$125,000: Play in CFP non-semifinal

--$425,000: Play in CFP semifinal

--$525,000: Play in CFP title game

--$925,000: Wins CFP title

$200,000: Team ranked among top five in final Amway Coaches or Associated Press media rankings

Wisconsin's Paul Chryst

Chryst does not have prescribed bonuses based on team's on-field performance. He and 14 other designated members of the coaching and football-specific strength staff will share a bonus pool based on a percentage of the combined University-contracted base salaries of those coaches. This season, that combined amount is $4,284,400. The bonus pool will be distributed at the discretion of Chryst and athletics director Barry Alvarez, subject to approval of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Athletic Board.

Has ...

Share of bonus pool equaling 20% of designated combined salaries: 12-0 regular-season record

Share of bonus pool equaling 4% of designated combined salaries: Play in Big Ten title game

Can get ...

Another 5% of designated combined salary total added to pool: Win Big Ten title

Another 5% of designated combined salary total added to pool: Play in CFP title game

Another 5% of designated combined salary total added to pool: Win CFP title

Note: 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.

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December 1, 2017
 
 
 

 

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