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How College-Football Coaches Are Scoring Major Perks, From Private Flights to Country-Club Access

That's on top of multimillion-dollar salaries.

Deion Sanders Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Being a college-football coach is hard work: Your job basically rests on whether you win or lose. If you can withstand the pressure, though, you might be in for some pretty great perks.

Recently, The Athletic examined the contracts or employment agreements for 17 new head coaches at public universities throughout the United States, including schools like the University of Cincinnati, the University of Colorado and the University of Nebraska. Some of these coaches are the highest-paid public employees in their state, and on top of the millions they receive in annual salary, they get add-ons that make the deal even sweeter.

Across the board, every coach gets a country-club or golf-club membership for their entire family. That’s because schools consider such a perk “promotion,” allowing coaches to hobnob with potential donors. Most schools also offer season tickets to games that coaches can share with family and friends. Many give 10 to 14 tickets plus the use of a suite and tickets to other college sports games. Western Michigan University, though, has gone above and beyond, giving its coach a whopping 34 season tickets.

Off the field, certain coaches are receiving even more amenities. Colorado’s Deion Sanders gets two courtesy SUVs to drive him around or a $1,200 a month supplemental salary (on top of the $5.5 million he’ll make in 2023). Nebraska’s Matt Rhule has 50 hours of private flight time for personal use (his contract starts at $5.5 million and increases up to $12.5 million by the end), while the University of Wisconsin’s Luke Fickell gets an extra $125,000 every year for travel and entertainment fringe benefits.

Of course, these coaches’ contracts aren’t all just perks, and some include clauses that limit their actions in specific ways. Sanders, for example, is contractually obligated to wear Nike gear in his official capacity—despite his personal deal with Under Armour. And Kent State University’s Kenni Burns, once he leaves the school, can’t contact or recruit Kent State players within one year of departing.

But those are all relatively small requirements in the grand scheme of these deals. And if a coach is worried about being fired, many of them have buyouts worth millions of dollars (the University of Louisville’s coach would get an astounding $40 million if he’s fired without cause). With that sort of money floating around, maybe we should all be pursuing a coaching career.

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