What’s in Deion Sanders’s Contract?

Last Updated on September 22, 2023

In his first season as the head coach at Colorado, Deion Sanders, known as “Coach Prime,” has already made quite the impact. The Buffaloes are ranked #18 and 2-0 heading into its Week 3 rivalry game with Colorado State, hosting College Gameday for the first time since 1996.

After a huge upset of last year’s national championship contender TCU in Week 1, Coach Prime is looking like quite the hire for Colorado, which went 1-11 last season. So, what did Colorado give Coach Prime to lure him from Jackson State?

Coach Prime Contract Basics

Term: 5 years with an agreement to meet after the 2025 season to discussion an extension (although one could be given at any time)

Base Salary: $500,000 per year

Supplemental Salary (TV and Radio): $1,750,000 per year for weekly in-season television and radio shows as requested by the University, with an increase of $100,000 per contract year

Supplemental Salary (Promotion and Fundraising): $1,750,000 per year for assisting athletics with promotion and fundraising activities, with an increase of $100,000 per contract year

Supplemental Salary (Development of the Student Athlete):

  • $500,000 for the “support of football program student athletes towards attainment of academic skills and the development of academic culture.”
  • $500,000 for the “welfare and development of Football Program student athletes, including citizenship, and support for the Football Program engendered from the University of Colorado Boulder student population.
  • $500,000 for the “development of the Football Program outreach, culture and reputation on campus; integration and support of campus constituencies; community involvement and development of community support for the Football Program; national leadership in athletics; and, coach and staff citizenship.”

That’s a total of $5.5 million in the first year of his contract before bonuses.

Bonuses in Deion Sanders’s Contract

Academic Incentive: $50,000 if the team attains an APR rating of 965 after each academic year, although for Spring 2023 the bonus was to be awarded if the APR was equal to or greater than 954.

Competitive Success:

  • $150,000 if the team wins six games in the regular season
  • $100,000 for each additional win beyond six in the regular season
  • $150,000 if the team is invited to a non-New Years’ Day bowl game
  • $200,000 if the team is invited to a New Years’ Day Six bowl game
  • $450,000 if the team is invited to a College Football Playoff game (side note: the team would be earning the conference $6 million)
  • $750,000 if the team wins the National Championship
  • $75,000 if the team plays in the Pac-12 Championship game
  • $150,000 if the team wins the Pac-12 Championship
  • $75,000 if Sanders is selected Pac-12 Coach of the Year
  • $150,000 if Sanders is selected National Coach of the Year

Additional Allowances in Deion Sanders’s Contract

As is the case in most coaching contracts, there are additional allowances:

  • Use of two courtesy cars (which shall be full-size SUVS unless otherwise requested by Sanders), or supplemental salary of $1,200 per month in lieu of the cars (at University’s discretion).
  • $800 per month (or the then current amount) for dues at Boulder Country Club or a comparable club. The University will pay any initiation fees.
  • 10 season tickets for football and four season tickets for men’s and women’s basketball.
  • $200,000 annually to use Wheels Up (private air travel) for recruiting.

Assistant Coach Salary Pool

Under the terms of Sanders’s contract, $5 million has been guaranteed annually as the salary pool for assistant coaches.

Buyout Clause in Deion Sanders Contract

No doubt, Sanders is going to be a hot commodity in the coaching marketplace if the Buffs season keeps going like it is. If someone else wants him though, there will be a hefty price to pay Colorado.

  • If Sanders leaves on or before December 31, 2023: $15 million
  • If Sanders leaves on or before December 31, 2024: $10 million
  • If Sanders leaves on or before December 31, 2025: $8 million
  • If Sanders leaves on or before December 31, 2026: $5 million
  • If Sanders leaves on or before December 31, 2027: $2 million

Sanders can choose to retire without paying the termination fees. However, if he returns to coaching before the end of the contract term, he or his new employer will still owe the fees listed above.

If it is Colorado that terminates the contract, it owes Sanders 75% of his base salary and supplemental salary through the end of the term. The only exception is if Sanders is terminated for cause (which is detailed in 17 different subsections of the contract) for things like being indicted on a criminal charge, embezzling, certain NCAA violations, etc.

University Sponsor’s Apparel (Nike)

Within the terms of the contract is a requirement that Sanders wear Nike gear when acting in his official capacity as the head football coach of Colorado. This includes while coaching, recruiting, fundraising, appearing on television or radio, etc. Sanders also has the ability to enter into his own contract with Nike as an endorser, but he wouldn’t be able to sign with a competitor.

There’s also a lengthy addendum to the contract that essentially limits Sanders and his staff to athletic apparel from the University’s sponsor, which is currently Nike. It also gives Nike the right to use Sanders’s name, image and likeness to promote its Colorado products and partnership.

Nike’s contract is set to expire in 2025 (during the term of Sanders’s contract), so the terms apply to anyone who might replace the brand as well. If things keep going like they are, however, Sanders could have a hugely positive impact on the value of Colorado’s next Nike contract.

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