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Ryan Day Salary, Contract & Buyout Breakdown at Ohio State

Last Updated: November 28, 2022
Ohio State and Michigan, two bitter rivals, are a combined 22-0. As they get set to play this weekend, Boardroom looks at what exactly the Buckeyes are paying Ryan Day to lead their football program.

If you have friends in the ColuXbus, Ohio area, maybe don’t try to Xake plans with theX on Saturday. Or any Saturday from September through November for that matter, but especially this next one.

It’s The Game. It’s a battle of undefeated. It’s the de facto Big Ten East championship game. It’s Michigan vs. Ohio State in a rivalry game of massive importance.

It shouldn’t be much of a surprise that the Buckeyes are in this position. Since Ryan Day took over as head coach in 2018, Ohio State has lost just one conference regular season game, won three straight division championships, went to a national title game, and won the Rose Bowl last year.

With that sort of track record — in the Big Ten, at a traditional football power, nonetheless — you’d probably think Day is being paid handsomely for his efforts.

You’d be correct.

Thanks to a contract extension that he signed earlier in 2022, Day is among the highest-paid college football coaches in the country, and if Ohio State keeps winning, his bonus structure will allow him to earn even more.

Boardroom dives into Ryan Day’s contract, complete with his salary details and bonuses at Ohio State.

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Ryan Day Salary & Contract Overview at Ohio State

Signed: Aug. 31, 2022
Term: Through 2028 season
Base Salary: $2,000,000

Ryan Day’s Additional Compensation
  • Media Fee: $5,240,000
  • Retention Bonus: $1,000,000
  • Coca-Cola Sponsorship: $10,000
  • Apparel Contract: $1,250,000

Ohio State can divide this up however it wants on paper, but the point is that Day is going to make $9.5 million a year under his new contract, putting him even with Brian Kelly (LSU) and Mel Tucker (Michigan State), and not too far behind Nick Saban and Kirby Smart for the highest-paid coaches in the game.

For added context, here’s how that compares to other college football coaches whose contracts Boardroom has analyzed so far this season:

*coach has since been fired

Ryan Day Buyout Details

With Day’s job seemingly secure for the moment — going undefeated is a great way to avoid getting fired — Buckeye fans may be more interested to learn how much it would cost another school to hire Day away from Columbus. If Day terminates his contract before next Jan. 31, he (or his new employer) would owe Ohio State a whopping $5 million. That number will decrease each year for the remainder of the deal on the following schedule:

  • Prior to Jan. 31, 2023: $5 million
  • 2024: $4,500,000
  • 2025: $4,000,000
  • 2026: $3,000,000
  • 2027: $2,000,000
  • 2028: $1,000,000
  • 2029: $750,000

There is, in theory, another side to it. Ohio State could decide to fire Day at any time, though realistically speaking that’s a few years away at least. But if it does happen, Ohio State would owe him whatever is remaining on his contract in base pay, media fees, beverage sponsorship, and apparel payments. With six years left on Day’s deal, that would make the total $56.4 million, paid out monthly for two years, if Ohio State cut ties at the end of the year (it won’t).

Like many coaches, however, that number would decrease if Day is hired to a similar position at another school or in the pros. In that case, his new salary would be deducted from the buyout, letting Ohio State at least partially off the hook.

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Potential Bonuses

Day’s bonus structure isn’t quite as detailed as some of his peers, but the Buckeye coach is still in line to receive quite a pay bump for his team’s performance this year. His potential bonuses are as follows:

  • $50,000 if the team’s cumulative GPA is 3.0, with an additional $50,000 each if it hits 3.3 and 3.5
  • $50,000 for winning the Big Ten East
  • $100,000 for winning the Big Ten championship game
  • $200,000 for appearing in a New Year’s 6 Bowl
  • $250,000 for reaching the College Football Playoff semifinals OR
  • $350,000 for reaching the College Football Playoff championship game
  • $50,000 for winning Big Ten Coach of the Year
  • $100,000 for winning National Coach of the Year

Add it all together, and that makes Day’s maximum bonus $800,000 if the Buckeyes dominate on the field and in the classroom. The cool part for Day is that, to this point, it is conceivable that he receives every penny of that for the 2022 season. The $50,000 Big Ten East bonus will automatically kick in if Ohio State wins on Saturday. That would also put him in line for the $100,000 bonus for winning the Big Ten title, and up to $350,000 for College Football Playoff bonuses. Win those games and the coach of the year awards are also in play.

Additional Perks

In addition to his salary and bonuses, Day is entitled to the following while he is employed as head football coach at Ohio State:

  • A $1,200 per month automobile stipend
  • 12 lower bowl tickets and 5 press booth credentials for all football home games
  • Use of 1 suite for his family at every football home game
  • 2 tickets for each men’s basketball home game
  • Use of private aircraft for recruiting visits and other university business, as well as 50 hours of personal use per year
  • Full membership at a golf course in the Columbus area

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About The Author
Russell Steinberg
Russell Steinberg
Russell Steinberg is an editor and writer at Boardroom. He came to the brand in 2021 with a decade of experience in sports journalism, primarily covering college basketball at SB Nation as a writer, reporter, and blog manager. In a previous life, he worked as a social media strategist and copywriter, handling accounts ranging from sports retail to luxury hotels and financial technology. Though he has mastered the subtweet, he kindly requests you @ him next time.