What is Mike Norvell’s buyout? How can he make some extra money in performance incentives? Boardroom looks at the contract and salary details for FSU’s head football coach.
It’s always awkward to talk about head coaches on the hot seat — win or lose, these are humans. Ones with families, reputations, and assistant coaches whose job statuses also hang in the balance. But it is part of the yearly college football discourse, and Florida State Seminoles head coach Mike Norvell comes into the 2022 season with his seat starting to simmer.
Norvell is 8-13 in Tallahassee, including just a 4-10 mark in the ACC. That’s only through two seasons — one and a half, really, because of the pandemic — so it’s not totally fair to put the guy on notice. Expectations for the Noles, however, are always high, and he could certainly use a strong year to quiet the haters. It all starts when Florida State visits the Superdome to play LSU in a premier nationally-televised showdown on ABC.
All told, the circumstances around Norvell’s job security had us wondering: How much, exactly, does FSU have invested in their guy? If they choose to part ways with the head coach after this season, what’s his buyout? What about a year from now? You have Mike Norvell contract questions, and as always, Boardroom has answers.
Mike Norvell Contract Details
Showing the details behind Norvell’s contract isn’t as simple as presenting the number of years and total salary. There are two factors at play here: (1) An extension signed in 2021 and (2) several rounds of pay cuts that Norvell took during the pandemic to help the university save money.
Norvell’s contract was originally worth $28 milion over six years as initially signed in 2019. That includes a $215,000 base salary, millions in additional pay, and an annual retention bonus. It does not include potential performance bonuses. The one-year extension and pay cuts are all reflected in the numbers below:
Originally Signed: Dec. 7, 2019
Length: 7 years (through 2026 season)
Base Yearly Salary: $215,000
Additional Total Salary: $28,495,000 (average of $4,070,714.29 per year)
Annual Retention Bonus: $250,000 to be paid on Dec. 31, beginning in 2024.
Total Salary for 2022 Season: $3,250,000
That pay cut was originally agreed to in July 2020, with additional amendments coming that December. According to the amendments, as obtained by Boardroom, here are the changes to his additional pay, none of which affect his annual base salary of $215,000:
- Contract Year One (2020): $3,535,000 — remains unchanged
- Contract Year Two (2021): $2,785,000 — was originally $3,785,000
- Contract Year Three (2022): $3,035,000 — was originally $4,035,000
- Contract Year Four (2023): $2,785,000 — was originally $4,285,000
- Contract Year Five (2024): $4,785,000 — remains unchanged
- Contract Year Six: (2025): $4,785,000 — remains unchanged
- Contract Year Seven (2026): $6,785,000 — agreed to Dec. 2021
The pay cut also eliminated Norvell’s retention bonus for 2020-23. That clause in his contract will now kick in after the 2024 season.
These moves were all to help Florida State University reduce its total athletics costs by 20% during the pandemic. 247Sports reported that basketball coaches Leonard Hamilton and Sue Semrau took 10% pay cuts, while athletic director David Coburn cut his own salary by 20%.
Mike Norvell Buyout Details
If Florida State fires Norvell without cause — essentially because the team is losing and not because of any NCAA shenanigans or legal issues — then the university will owe him 85% of the remaining money left on his contract. In this case, “remaining money” is defined as his remaining base salary plus remaining additional pay. Retention or performance bonuses are not included.
After this season, Norvell will have exactly $25,000,000 left on his contract. So, if he is fired at the end of the 2022 campaign, Florida State will owe him 85% of that, or $21,250,000.
If the Seminoles choose to bring Norvell back next year but fire him after the 2023 season, they will be on the hook for 85% of his remaining $22,000,000, or $18,700,000.
As with most coaches, Norvell is set to receive some hefty bonuses if his players perform well on the field and in the classroom. His contract states that in order to be eligible for these bonuses, his team must have a multiyear APR score of at least 930. For the uninitiated, APR stands for Academic Performance Rate, and is the NCAA’s way of measuring student-athletes‘ academic success.
Here is Norvell’s entire bonus structure:
Some quick math will tell you that the maximum bonus Norvell could earn would be $1.4 million in a single season, brought about by delivering a perfect APR score, winning ACC and National Coach of the Year honors, winning the ACC Championship, and winning the national championship.
Norvell has yet to qualify for any on-field performance bonuses at Florida State, but his team did report an APR score of 958 in 2022, according to the Tallahassee Democrat, which earned him an extra $100,000.
Mike Norvell’s Additional Allowances and Perks
Norvell’s additional perks are all pretty standard, but worth noting nevertheless:
- Florida State also provides Norvell with allowances to cover essential job expenses like his cell phone and vehicle. The university gives him a $2,000 per month car allowance. For his phone, his contract allows for either a university-issued phone or a stipend to pay his phone bill.
- Florida State also pays for all work-related travel and for his wife and kids to travel on the team plane to games.
- The university has agreed to pay for Norvell’s membership to a local country club
- FSU provides him with 12 tickets to dole out for every home and away football game, as well as the use of a skybox suite and two parking spaces for home games.
- He will also receive four tickets for every home Florida State game in all other sports.