Ohio State football coaches eligible for bonuses despite previous salary reductions

Joey Kaufman
Buckeye Xtra
Ohio State coach Ryan Day speaks during the Buckeyes' postgame celebration at the Big Ten championship game on Saturday.

Despite salary reductions, layoffs and efforts to curb spending in the athletic department amid the coronavirus pandemic, Ohio State football coach Ryan Day and his staff remain eligible for performance bonuses this season.

With the Buckeyes’ return to the College Football Playoff and a win over Northwestern in the Big Ten championship game last weekend, that means sizable payments, according to copies of their contracts obtained by The Dispatch through a public-records request.

Day is set to receive at least $400,000, a total that includes $250,000 for a playoff semifinal appearance, $100,000 for a Big Ten championship and $50,000 for a Big Ten East Division title.

If Ohio State beats Clemson in the Sugar Bowl and reaches the national championship game next month, he gets another $100,000.

On-field assistant coaches are due to pick up a combined total of $2.7 million. They are each owed a bonus amount worth 34% of their annual base salary — a percentage total that includes 21.25% for a playoff semifinal appearance, as well as 8.5% for finishing atop the Big Ten East and 4.25% for winning the conference title game.  

A school spokesman said last week that the bonuses are calculated from their original base salaries, which were set prior to voluntary 5% pay cuts that were implemented in October and remain in place for the rest of the fiscal year.

Ohio State is saving $1 million from the salary reductions across the athletic department, about half of which comes from the football program. The department is expected to finish deep in the red this year and originally forecasted a nine-figure deficit before a football season restarted this fall. 

Four of the 10 football assistants make at least $1 million this season, led by defensive coordinator Kerry Coombs and offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson, making up the second-highest-paid staff in the nation behind Alabama, according to a recent USA TODAY survey.

Coombs is to collect $476,000 and Wilson gets $408,000, the largest bonuses on the Buckeyes’ staff. Defensive co-coordinator Greg Mattison and defensive line coach Larry Johnson are each in line for bonus pay of $385,220.

Offensive line coach Greg Studrawa is to receive $238,000, and running backs coach Tony Alford is owed $210,120,

Among the rest of the staff, wide receivers coach Brian Hartline is up for $187,000, with $175,100 set for linebackers coach Al Washington, $153,000 for special teams coach Matt Barnes and $102,000 for quarterbacks coach Corey Dennis.

An appearance in the national championship game would bring additional bonus pay worth an amount of 4.25% of their base salary and raise their combined total of bonuses to just over $3 million.

According to contract provisions, bonuses are to be paid within about two months from the end of the season.

Strength and conditioning coach Mickey Marotti is set for $272,391 in bonuses, a total that is 34% of his $801,150 original base salary.

There are no bonus clauses for winning a national championship.


No. 3 Ohio State vs. No. 2 Clemson

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