A Look At The Odd World Of College Coaches' Contracts

May 16, 2016

For those who don't closely follow college sports, and even for those who do, there are some things that might strike you as unusual about coaches’ contracts.

Rarely is their salary what they really make.

Bill Self's contract at the University of Kansas is a good example.

In addition to his state salary, there’s all the money he’s paid through his LLC. And the 10-year deal Self signed in 2012 includes some very attractive and lucrative incentives.

For example, he gets $100,000 for being named AP Coach of the Year, $50,000 for winning the Big 12 regular season, and $25,000 for winning the conference tournament. He did all of that last season, so he pocketed an extra $175,000. If he wins another NCAA national championship (he won one in 2008), he would make an additional $200,000.

But Kansas Athletics Inc. also allows Self to use its facilities to operate a youth summer basketball camp and "receive 100 percent of Athletics' royalty payments from sale of in-store retail merchandise" every June, when the camps are in session. The athletic department gets 2 percent of the net profits from the camp.

Many big-time college coaches enhance their income with similar camps.

Kansas State University basketball coach Bruce Weber is one. He also has performance incentives including a 4 percent bonus for a 10-8 Big 12 record, a 16 percent bonus for a Sweet 16 appearance in the NCAA tournament and an extra 32 percent for winning a national championship. (This year, Weber will make a salary of $1.9 million.)

Weber can also earn extra income from hitting certain academic goals for his team.

Weber, like most major college basketball and football coaches, would receive a huge payment if he's fired without cause before the end of his contract. In his case, $2.5 million.

His football colleague at K-State, Bill Snyder, would get a $2 million payment for early termination without cause.

Snyder has a couple of unique things in his deal. K-State pays for his annual physical at either the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota or at Scripps Health in California. K-State also allows Snyder ten hours of "private airplane use" every contract year.

Gregg Marshall's contract to coach basketball at Wichita State University is also filled with perks like most big-time coaches enjoy. The athletic department supplies him with two cars, memberships at the Flint Hills County Club and Crestview County Club, a health club membership. And he can take his family to six road games per year on the team's chartered jet.

Sam Zeff covers education for KCUR. He's also co-host of KCUR's political podcast Statehouse Blend. Follow him on Twitter @SamZeff.