Lincoln Riley was made one of the highest-paid coaches in college football in 2020 when he signed an extension with Oklahoma. Now, he’s set to abandon that contract for another at USC.
According to Sports Illustrated, Riley had previously been signed to a five-year, $32 million deal in 2019 before inking a six-year, $45.2 million deal in July 2020 that included a two-year extension to keep him in Norman through 2025.
The Trojans have not released figures on how much he’ll make in his new position — nor do they have to, as a private university — but Riley isn’t quite done with the Sooners just yet. Because he is leaving before his contract is up, Riley, or USC, will be tasked with paying a buyout to get him out of this deal.
MORE: Why did Lincoln Riley leave Oklahoma?
How much is Lincoln Riley’s buyout?
USC will handle Riley’s buyout, which is $4.5 million, according to NBC Los Angeles.
That might not sound like a lot, but consider that USC is already on the hook to pay a coach not to coach anymore. According to Yahoo Sports’ Pete Thamel, the Trojans already are paying Clay Helton more than $10 million after they fired him in September following a crushing 42-28 loss to Stanford.
Clay Helton had two full years remaining on his deal after this one. He’s expected to be owed more than $10 million in buyout money.
— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) September 13, 2021
That by itself is just $14.5 million that USC will be shelling out to pay coaches not to coach.
MORE: Oklahoma fans are livid at Lincoln Riley for taking USC job
Riley will certainly be expected to command a huge salary at USC. According to Ryan Kartje of the Los Angeles Times, Helton made just under $5 million per season as the head coach of the Trojans.
From July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020, USC paid head football coach Clay Helton $4.813 million, according to the university’s federal tax return. Helton was paid $4.569 million over the previous year.
— Ryan Kartje (@Ryan_Kartje) May 17, 2021
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The Trojans’ new head coach can probably be counted on to make more than that. According to Sports Illustrated, Riley was slated to make more than $7.5 million in each of his remaining four seasons with the Sooners, including $8.275 million in 2023.