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A Deeper Look into the Details of Brian Kelly’s LSU Contract

Program pushing all its chips to the middle of the table with hiring of Kelly

LSU and Scott Woodward are all in on Brian Kelly as the next football coach and his contract is absolutely proof of that fact.

LSU and Kelly agreed to a 10-year, $95 million contract but comes with a number of incentives and critical notes on performance. It's an agreed upon deal that looking at all of the details, will make it extremely hard for the program to move on from Kelly if expectations aren't met.

In a public records request, Sports Illustrated's Ross Dellenger was able to grab the details of the contract. The base salary for each season are as follows:

2022: $9M

2023: $9.2M

2024: $9.2M

2025: $9.4M

2026: $9.4M

2027: $9.6M

2028: $9.6M

2029: $9.8M

2030: $9.8M

2031: $10M


But this is a contract that is extremely unique for a number of reasons, starting with the incentives. For every full season Kelly lasts, he receives an extra $500,000 that July. Additionally, Kelly will receive an extra $500,000 incentive every season LSU becomes bowl eligible. 


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LSU hasn’t had a losing season since 1999 and been bowl eligible every year since. That’s an extra $1 million in incentives every year with a 6-6 record or better. 

The adjusted salary of incentives each season would make Kelly the highest paid coach in college football. Here are the incentive adjusted numbers:

2022: $10M

2023: $10.2M

2024: $10.2M

2025: $10.4M

2026: $10.4M

2027: $10.6M

2028: $10.6M

2029: $10.8M

2030: $10.8M

2031: $11M

There are also varying levels of incentives if for example, LSU wins the SEC or a national championship, bringing his total maximum incentive up to $1.35 million. If Kelly wins a championship while at LSU, he earns an additional $500,000 to each contract year following the championship.

Also in the case that LSU wins a championship under Kelly and later fires him, the school will owe him 100% of his remaining salary while it will owe him 90% of his remaining salary if it fires him without cause and no championship win. 

In addition to his incentives, LSU will allow Kelly 50 hours of private travel on LSU's planes, an interest free loan of $1.2 million for a house and two cars. 

Needless to say, Woodward and the athletic department have made it very difficult to fire Kelly during this 10-year contract, going all in on championship aspirations.