Suffice to say, Gene Smith is not a fan of the most recent spiraling upwards of coaching salaries in college football.
In prying Jimbo Fisher away from Florida State, Texas A&M is signed their new head coach to a 10-year, $75 million contract. In 2017, Nick Saban was paid $11.2 million, $2 million of which was deferred compensation, on a contract that will pay the future Hall of Famer an average of just over $8.1 annually.
Even for a man in charge of one of the most profitable athletic departments in the country, those numbers are unsettling. Or “ridiculous,” in the words of Smith. From OSU’s student newspaper, the Lantern, on the athletic director’s comments on the subject:
I don’t even put Texas A&M in our sphere because I’m considering Urban [Meyer]’s situation with three years left on his contract,” Smith said during Ohio State’s Board of Trustees’ Talent and Compensation Committee meeting Thursday. “Talking with [Susan Basso, vice president of human resources] and [Joanna McGoldrick, associate vice president of total rewards], that’s not even someone that we’re comparing with because it’s so ridiculous.
“It’s the same way with Alabama and their total salary. Take it off the sheet because it doesn’t matter. Because it’s just no value to it. It’s a reactionary type of management.
According to the USA Today coaching salary database, Urban Meyer was paid just north of $6.4 million last season as the Buckeyes’ head football coach. That total was fourth in the country, behind Saban, Clemson’s Dabo Swinney ($8.5 million) and Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh ($7 million).
Meyer still has three years remaining on his current contract, but certainly has earned the right to be paid in the same stratosphere as, at least, Fisher and Swinney, and should certainly be paid more than Coach Third Place in the Big Ten East. Based on Smith’s words, though, Fisher money might not be in Meyer’s future.