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Ohio State football coach Ryan Day is set to receive a contract extension through 2028, the school announced Wednesday.
The new deal, which is pending approval from the university’s board of trustees this week, is worth $9.5 million in annual compensation, raising Day’s yearly income by nearly $2 million, according to a news release. The new salary takes effect when the school begins its next fiscal year on July 1.
Under the terms of a previous contract that ran through 2026, Day was scheduled to earn $7.6 million in total compensation this year in addition to performance incentives.
It's unclear if Day had any input on the terms of the contract. Day's agent, Trace Armstrong, declined comment on the proposed extension.
A copy of the new contract, including additional details such as a buyout provision, has not yet been released. The agreement has been approved by the talent, compensation and governance committee with a full board vote scheduled for Thursday.
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In three seasons at the helm of the program, Day has led Ohio State to of two College Football Playoff appearances and Big Ten championships.
He has a 34-4 record, which includes three wins as the acting head coach in 2018 with Urban Meyer suspended for a trio of games to start the season.
But the Buckeyes are coming off the most disappointing season of Day’s tenure, which included missing out on a playoff appearance and conference title following a loss to archrival Michigan for the first time in a decade.
Ohio State finished last season with an 11-2 record, capped by a comeback victory over Utah in the Rose Bowl.
The setbacks led Day to overhaul his coaching staff in the offseason, bringing in veteran Oklahoma State defensive coordinator Jim Knowles.
Day’s restructured contract makes him one of the highest-paid coaches in the nation, leaving him as one of only five known to be owed annual compensation surpassing $9 million.
The exclusive club includes LSU’s Brian Kelly and Michigan State’s Mel Tucker, each of them also making $9.5 million per year, as well as Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher, who is being paid $9 million this year.
Alabama coach Nick Saban remains the highest-paid coach in the Football Bowl Subdivision with annual compensation totaling $9.9 million.
Despite the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic that saddled athletic departments with eight-figure deficits, coaching salaries have kept rising across the college football landscape.
Last year, Saban was the only coach with recurring compensation set at $9 million or more.
Like Day, some of the coaches signed new deals. Kelly struck a lucrative agreement after leaving Notre Dame to replace Ed Orgeron, while Tucker was awarded a contract extension after being publicly linked to other head coaching jobs.
It's been widely speculated that Georgia coach Kirby Smart will also be up for a new deal in the same range after leading the Bulldogs to a national championship in January, their first title since 1980.
Before Day’s two-year contract extension, Tucker was poised to surpass him as the highest-paid coach in the Big Ten after signing a 10-year, $95 million extension in November.
According to USA Today’s annual survey of college coaching salaries published in October, Day’s $6.6 million in total compensation had made him the top-earning coach in the conference in 2021. Day also received $250,000 in incentive bonuses for a berth in the Rose Bowl and a share of the Big Ten East title.
Elsewhere in the Big Ten’s East Division, Maryland’s Mike Locksley, Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh, and Penn State’s James Franklin have all received new deals over the last six months.
Franklin also reached a 10-year extension worth $75 million, nearly matching Day’s previously scheduled annual compensation figure. Harbaugh is also due to receive more than $7 million this year.
After the extensions of Tucker and Franklin were announced, OSU athletic director Gene Smith told The Dispatch in February he felt little urgency to rework Day's contract.
"No urgency whatsoever," Smith said. "If I do something, I'll let you know. But I don't feel this urgency that you guys feel.
"First of all, he's got a great contract. He’s compensated exceptionally well."
After leading the Buckeyes to the College Football Playoff in his debut season at the helm of the program, Day received an extension through the 2026 season, along with a pay raise.
Day made $4.5 million in 2019 after he was promoted from offensive coordinator to succeed Meyer.
His income has more than doubled since then.
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This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Ohio State football gives Ryan Day a contact extension