Ohio State football coach Ryan Day set for pay raise, extension through 2028

Joey Kaufman
The Columbus Dispatch

Ohio State football coach Ryan Day is set to receive a contract extension through 2028, the school announced Wednesday.

The new deal, which is pending approval from the university’s board of trustees this week, is worth $9.5 million in annual compensation, raising Day’s yearly income by nearly $2 million, according to a news release. The new salary would take effect at the start of the upcoming fiscal year on July 1.  

Under the terms of a previous contract that ran through 2026, Day was scheduled to earn $7.6 million in total compensation this year in addition to performance incentives.

In three seasons at the helm of the program, Day has led Ohio State to a pair of College Football Playoff appearances and Big Ten championships.

What Ryan Day has done at OSU since taking over for Urban Meyer

He has a 34-4 overall record, which includes three wins as the acting head coach in 2018 with Urban Meyer suspended for a trio of games.

But the Buckeyes are coming off the most disappointing season of Day’s tenure, which included missing out on a playoff appearance and conference title after losing to archrival Michigan for the first time in a decade. Ohio State finished 11-2 with a comeback Rose Bowl victory over Utah.

Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Ryan Day leads a spring football practice at the Woody Hayes Athletics Center in Columbus on March 22, 2022.

The setbacks led Day to overhaul his coaching staff in the offseason, bringing in veteran Oklahoma State defensive coordinator Jim Knowles.

The new contract puts Day’s compensation in line with other coaches across the Big Ten landscape, as salaries continue to rise despite the lingering financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic that saddled athletic departments with eight-figure deficits.  

Ryan Day not the only Big Ten football coach to be extended

At least four other coaches in the Big Ten’s East Division received extensions over the last six months, including Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh, Michigan State’s Mel Tucker and Penn State’s James Franklin.

After Tucker signed a 10-year, $95 million extension in November, he surpassed Day as the highest-paid coach in the conference.

Franklin also reached a 10-year extension worth $75 million, nearly matching Day’s total compensation per year.

According to USA TODAY’s annual survey of college coaching salaries published in October, Day’s $6.6 million in total compensation had made him the top-earning coach in the Big Ten in 2021. Day also received $250,000 in incentive bonuses for a berth in the Rose Bowl and share of the Big Ten East title.

COACHES' COMPENSATION:Check out college football coaches' salaries

The contract for Day was last restructured two years ago. After Tucker and Franklin's extensions were announced, OSU athletic director Gene Smith told The Dispatch in February he felt little urgency to rework Day's contract.

"No urgency whatsoever," Smith said. "If I do something, I'll let you know. But I don't feel this urgency that you guys feel. First of all, he's got a great contract. He’s compensated exceptionally well."

After leading the Buckeyes to the College Football Playoff in his debut season at the helm of the program, he received an extension through the 2026 season, along with a pay raise.

Day made $4.5 million in 2019 after he was promoted from offensive coordinator to succeed Meyer.

Joey Kaufman covers Ohio State football for The Columbus Dispatch. Contact him at or on Twitter @joeyrkaufman.