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2020 NCAA Football Coach Salaries Ranking

USA Today has an updated ranking of head coach salaries around the country that includes COVID-19 salary reductions. See where MSU ranks.

Syndication: Lansing Nick King/Lansing State Journal via Imagn Content Services, LLC

USA Today compiles annual rankings of NCAA football head coaching salaries from around the country. Today they released an updated ranking taking into account announced salary reductions for the 2020 season along with overall contract reductions as a result of COVID-19. These cuts are broken down by school related and overall compensation, and the exact details on methodology are available here.

Overall, the Big Ten prior to cuts had two coaches in the top-10 of pay, with Harbaugh leading the Big Ten and ranked No. 4 nationally. Five schools rank in the top-15, and nine rank in the top-25 (Penn State’s James Franklin and Purdue’s Jeff Brohm edge Minnesota’s P.J. Fleck to No. 26).

Pre-COVID-19 salary cut rankings:

  1. Jim Harbaugh: $8,054,000
  2. James Franklin: $6,700,000
  3. Ryan Day: $5,748,264
  4. Pat Fitzgerald: $5,218,658*
  5. Mel Tucker: $5,057,000
  6. Scott Frost: $5,000,000
  7. Kirk Ferentz: $4,900,000
  8. Jeff Brohm: $4,800,000
  9. P.J. Fleck: $4,600,000
  10. Paul Chryst: $4,250,000
  11. Greg Schiano: $4,030,000
  12. Love Smith: $4,000,000
  13. Tom Allen: $3,770,000
  14. Mike Locksley: $2,605,000

*Pat Fitzgerald’s salary prior to a voluntary pay-cut was unavailable. His salary figure represents post voluntary cut of undisclosed amount/percentage.


Effects of COVID-19 Cuts

The following coaches have taken a total pandemic pay reduction/cut to their contract in the following amounts:

  • Jim Harbaugh: $554,584
  • P.J. Fleck: $548,320
  • Kirk Ferentz: $393,000
  • Paul Chryst: $318,750
  • Greg Schiano: $266,664
  • Mel Tucker: $266,000
  • Mike Locksley: $265,500
  • Ryan Day: $236,877
  • Lovie Smith: $200,000
  • Scott Frost: $166,667
  • Tom Allen: $50,000

*James Franklin and Jeff Brohm do not have any data available on cuts to salary, and Pat Fitzgerald’s salary prior to announced cuts is not available nor are amounts of reduction to his salary.

Overall seven schools rank in the top-25 for salary reductions as a result of COVID-19 (for those whose data is available). Mel Tucker for the Michigan State Spartans falls at No. 23 on the list for overall salary reduction, and nationally ranked No. 15 in total pay prior to his salary reductions. In comparison, Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh ranks No. 3 in terms of total cuts to his salary. However, Wolverines have to be asking themselves the question: is a sixth straight season under Harbaugh’s leadership worth the exorbitant expense if he still won’t punch the ticket to Indy or at least beat Ohio State?