College football coaches getting paid more

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Jimbo Fisher got a raise of roughly $950,000 after last season, his first as head football coach at Florida State, boosting his pay to about $2.8 million.

So, at a time of tightening budgets, how does a public employee get a 50% raise of nearly $1 million after one year on the job?

“You’re always looking at whether or not you have the potential to lose a good coach and end up having to pay more in order to get the next one,” Florida State President Eric Barron says.

That sort of inflationary reasoning is a factor in the rapid rise in salaries of major-college head football coaches. An analysis by USA TODAY found that in 2006 the average pay for major-college coaches was $950,000 — coincidentally, about the amount of Fisher’s raise after last season.

The average compensation in 2011 is $1.47 million, a jump of nearly 55% in six seasons.

In the six conferences with automatic Bowl Championship Series bids, the average salary rose from $1.4 million in 2006 to $2.125 million in 2011. That’s a jump of about 52% — meaning salaries at schools in the other five major conferences are going up at roughly the same rate as they are at higher-profile schools.

“The hell with gold,” higher education lawyer Sheldon Steinbach says. “I want to buy futures in coaches’ contracts.”

Full story: Salaries for college football coaches back on rise