Over the past few decades, major college football has developed into a billion dollar business. Don’t let the fact that division one college football is governed by a non-profit organization mislead you to believe that the schools behind these programs are not making serious money. TV contracts, sponsorships, merchandise deals, etc. have all turned college football into arguably the second most popular sport in the United States.
With all this money coming in, universities are now able to pay their coaches massive sums of money. The hope is that they will bring in talented players and create teams that are competitive enough to be shown in prime-time games and earn spots in high money bowl games to create massive returns on their investments. The best coaches in college football can now make millions of dollars per year and there are 19 coaches that will earn more than $4 million in salary this season. With that being said, let’s take a look at some of the highest paid coaches in college football this year.
(Un)Honorable Mention: Hugh Freeze, Ole Miss
I wanted to give Hugh Freeze special mention before I get into the top 3. Currently, he is the only head coach in the top 10 of contract earnings whose team will not finish above .500 during the regular season, and the Rebels still have a chance to finish below that mark. Freeze has been a solid coach during his time in Oxford as has managed to bring a 2-10 team back to national relevance during his five seasons. However, he has not been able to push his teams to that elite level, despite having some notable wins over the years. Pair that with possible sanctions against the program for NCAA violations and a disappointing 2016 season, it’s a large possibility we will not see Freeze on the Ole Miss sideline next year.
Now, on to the top three:
3. Urban Meyer, Ohio State
All Urban Meyer does is win. What he has been able to do since coming to Ohio State is simply amazing. He currently holds a 60-5 record in five seasons at Ohio State (at the time of this article), has won two bowl games, and holds a national championship in the first ever game under the college football playoff system. Meyer continuously sends highly rated players to the NFL draft, while being able to reload his roster through outstanding recruiting every year. There is no doubt that Meyer is one of the best college football players in the country and deserves every bit of that contract.
2. Nick Saban, Alabama
Honestly, Nick Saban could probably ask for a piece of the moon and the Alabama boosters would find a way to get it for him. Nick Saban is the best coach in college football today and is arguably one of the greatest of all time. He has led the Crimson Tide to four national titles, four SEC titles, two Heisman winners, and a 116-18 record in just nine years. That’s not to mention the fact that he is on the road to another national championship in 2016 with possibly his most dominant squad yet. Simply put, Nick Saban is worth every penny that Alabama has given him and continues to be the most valuable coach in the game today.
1. Jim Harbaugh, Michigan
It’s an understatement to say that Jim Harbaugh is passionate about his job. Harbaugh is consistently in the news for doing things his own way and his attitude towards certain topics regarding the game. He demands perfection from his players and staff, though, and his team loves playing for him. It clearly shows as he has been able to bring a below average Michigan squad to top 5 status in under two years. I’d say the hefty price he costs the university has been worth it so far.