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Big Money on Line for Coaches in CFP Semifinals

  • Harbaugh has racked up more than $2M in bonuses already and another six-figure bonus is reachable.
  • Georgia's Kirby Smart is up to $850,000 so far this season ahead of Saturday's CFP semifinal.
Jim Harbaugh laughs during pregame interview
Front Office Sports Today

Could Promotion-Relegation work in College Football?

The proposal aims to create an exciting media product while reducing travel for non-football sports.
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September 21, 2023 | Podcast
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Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh has already netted more than $2 million in bonuses for leading the Wolverines to a Big Ten title and College Football Playoff semifinal berth. 

It will take two victories before Harbaugh is eligible for another seven-figure payout. Wins over TCU in the Fiesta Bowl on Saturday and another in the CFP title game on Jan. 9 would trigger a $1 million bonus. 

Harbaugh received $500,000 for winning the Big Ten East Division title, $1 million for the overall conference title and another $500,000 for making it to the College Football Playoffs. He also took in $50,000 for winning Big Ten coach of the year. 

Harbaugh’s compensation — minus the aforementioned bonuses  — is $8.05 million for the 2022 season, the first of a reworked five-year contract announced in February. 

  • Georgia coach Kirby Smart is up to $850,000 bonuses so far, according to USA Today. Georgia faces Ohio State in the other playoff semifinal, the Peach Bowl, on Saturday.
  • Ohio State coach Ryan Day earned $250,000 for making it into the playoff, and could earn $100,000 more by advancing to the title game. 
  • TCU coach Sonny Dykes bonus structure isn’t known. As a private school, TCU does not release contract information. He recently received an extension through 2028.

Pay Rebound

Harbaugh agreed to cut his compensation about half for the 2021 season to around $4 million as part of renogotiated contract. He also renounced $1.5 million in bonuses that were funneled to athletic department staffers who had their pay cut as a result of the pandemic.

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