Fact Check: Star Tribune on Kill’s Contract
The Star Tribune (link to their article is at the bottom of this article) recently said, “Kill is being paid an average of $2.3 million a year on his current salary and is one of the lowest-paid coaches in the country at a major program.”
This isn’t even close to true. The Star Tribune’s claim is completely baseless and false.
Star Tribune: “For example, look at Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz. He signed a 10-year contract in 2010 extension that paid him approximately $4 million this season. If he were to stay on through the end of his contract in 2020, he is due an additional $21 million.”
The Ferentz contract is about the most absurd single example one could come up when trying to argue that Kill is one of the lowest-paid coaches in the country at a major program.
Perhaps no contract in college football has been talked about as much as Ferentz’s. The discussion around it has been 98% negative. The amounts in the deal were and are unique.
However, if the Star Tribune had used more reasonable examples or considered factual data, the claim of Kill being underpaid would quickly be revealed for what it is: nonsense.
Star Tribune: “The bonuses that Kill will receive this year will be $50,000 for being named Big Ten Coach of the Year, and another $50,000 for reaching five Big Ten victories. Those are minimal compared to what other coaches, such as Urban Meyer at Ohio State, earn for similar accomplishments. Kill will also earn $50,000 for taking the Gophers to a bowl game, and he could earn another $50,000 if the team beats an opponent from the ACC, SEC, Big 12 or Pacific-12 in that bowl game.”
This is an example of just plain lying.
Why would Jerry Kill’s contract be compared to Urban Meyer’s in the first place? It’s bizarre, but again, the claims are absolutely false.
The Star Tribune claims that Kill’s $50,000 for being named Big Ten Coach of the Year and $50,000 reaching five Big Ten victories are minimal compared to what Urban Meyer earns for similar accomplishments.
The truth is that not only does Kill receive generous guaranteed compensation relative to his resume and peer group (currently $2.2M before merit increases), but his contract is filled with low-hanging incentives – far and away more so than Urban Meyer’s, to use the Star Tribune’s example.
Let’s assume the same scenarios for both Jerry Kill and Urban Meyer this year:
- Big Ten Coach of the Year (tie)
- Six Big Ten victories
- Tie for first in Big Ten Division
- Go to the Citrus Bowl
- Beat Mizzou at the Citrus Bowl
- APR of 960 (only 2 of 14 were lower in last season reported)
- 70% of senior class graduates
- Team GPA of 2.8
- Average home attendance of 47,000
If all of the above were met, the resulting incentive compensation earned by Coach Kill and Coach Meyer are as follows:
Total bonus for Kill: $550,000
Total bonus for Meyer: $50,000
With bonuses handed out just for winning just 5 Big Ten games, having an average APR or getting 47,000 into the stadium, Kill racks up one-half million more than Urban Meyer. The Ohio State coach and program has far higher expectations and would only receive $50,000 in incentive pay.
Some love Jerry Kill. They believe he’s turned the program around. They point to a win at the Big House and Kill’s “history of building programs.” They strangely celebrate the first New Year’s Day bowl game in 53 years while ignoring how frequently the schedule of games played on the holiday have changed year to year, making it an illogical comparison from the standpoint of program achievement.
Others are concerned that recruiting hasn’t been where it needs to build a consistent competitor in the Big Ten. They point to a loss at Illinois and have aspirations to be a program that doesn’t rejoice in a 5-win conference season. They hear about a history of winning, but see zero FBS bowl victories on Kill’s resume.
Either viewpoint is fine to have. But, Star Tribune, can you please cool it with the lies?