Ohio State shelled out $6,431,240 (sans bonuses) to head football coach Urban Meyer last season, according to USA Today's coaching salary database.
That was good for fourth in the country, trailing only Alabama's Nick Saban ($11.1 million), Clemson's Dabo Swinney ($8.5 million), and Michigan's Jim Harbaugh ($7 million).
The top of that list should look different in 2018 with Saban coming off another title in Tuscaloosa, and Texas A&M opening its checkbook to poach Jimbo Fisher from Florida State with a guaranteed $75 million.
Needless to say, these latest developments don't enthuse Buckeye athletic director Gene Smith, who has never been enamored of skyrocketing coaching salaries in college sports.
“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.”
The Wall Street Journal ranked Ohio State as the most valuable football program ($1.5 billion) last year, and the Buckeyes oversee one of the few profitable athletic programs in the country.
So, if university sachems wanted, they could afford to pay Meyer (and his assistants) a more than they do. But as Smith noted, Meyer has three years left in his contract—so he probably shouldn't look for a massive raise anytime soon.