New York Times Feature on College Coaching Contracts

Joe Robbins/Getty Images (Saban); Chris Graythen/Getty Images (Miles); Illustration by Sam Manchester, via The New York Times

James K. Gentry and Raquel Meyer Alexander published an excellent piece on coaching contracts in college football in the New York Times SportsSunday feature. 

The article, entitled “From the Sideline to the Bottom Line”, discusses how coaching contracts have evolved from handshake deals to complicated agreements.  Here’s an excerpt from the article:

A review of the contracts for more than 40 major college coaches — including Saban, Miles and many of the other men whose teams are appearing in the B.C.S. games that begin Monday — shows that agreements that once seemed simple and straightforward have morphed into an ever more intricate combination of guaranteed salary increases, lucrative bonuses and desirable perks that cover everything from country-club memberships to free travel on private airplanes.

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

A few other takeaways from the article:

  • The bulk of coaches’ compensation is from media appearances, not base salary
  • Coaching contracts require a working knowledge of employment law, tax law, NCAA and conference rules according to Attorney Robert Lattinville, who is quoted in the article
  • Both Nick Saban and Les Miles have set up corporations to handle media appearances and endorsements
  • Nick Saban receives a bonus for preventing players from “spatting” (the practice of players wrapping their cleats, and covering the Nike logo, with athletic tape)
  • Camps are an important element of coaching deals (for more on this topic, see my article Camps Bring Additional Income, Legal Issues for College Coaches

For more on coaching contracts, see the following posts:

Breaking Down the Meyer-Ohio State Agreement

Coaching Contract Lessons from Miami and Al Golden

3 Contractual Provisions to Help College Coaches Avoid Lawsuits

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