10/12/19 Breakfast Club and Tailgates Jeff Brohm

Head coach Jeff Brohm walks with his team toward the locker room two hours before the kickoff of an October game.

Purdue football head coach Jeff Brohm earned over $6 million last year, making him the second-highest paid Big Ten coach and the highest-paid Purdue employee by far.

His initial contract, signed in 2017, spanned 20 pages of definitions, payouts and a page that says coaching is “light physical activity.” A pair of amendments, signed after each of his first two seasons, tacked on retention incentives and extended his tenure to 2025.

Those retention incentives, totaling $2.4 million for 2019, come from the second amendment to Brohm’s contract signed last April. The extension came after the highly publicized “Brohm Watch,” a period in which he appeared to be considering the head coaching job at his alma mater Louisville.

Krannert School of Management Honors Director Cara Putman speculates that the incentives were added to keep Brohm at Purdue during that tenuous period.

People see seven-figure salaries and eight-figure buyouts and often wonder where all that money comes from. Additionally, gaps in information could lead to differently reported numbers and confusion among readers.

USA Today and 247 Sports each reported in October 2019 that Brohm earned $6.6 million in 2019. The actual number is slightly higher, at $6.825 million. The vast majority of that money — $3.9 million — comes from media and marketing appearances.

Brohm’s base salary as defined by the initial employee agreement is $300,000 per year, with the rest of his pay falling under “supplemental stipends” and performance bonuses.

The bonuses are calculated as a percentage of a performance bonus base of $1.5 million, according to his contract. The maximum amount he can earn in bonuses is $1.29 million.

“It seems almost like a dartboard type of number,” Putman said. “If he got every single bonus, it doesn’t equal $1.5 million because it’s not supposed to. That’s just where they’re drawing the ceiling.”

Brohm can earn two academic bonuses, maxing out at $90,000 each: one for achieving a team graduation rate above the national rate for Football Bowl Subdivision schools and one for meeting or exceeding a cumulative GPA set by the athletic director.

Season-performance bonuses include high finishes in the Big Ten and/or Big Ten West, appearances in postseason games ranging from the College Football Playoff to a game earned by a 6-6 season finish, a top-25 recruiting class ranking and various levels of Coach of the Year awards.

The reported $6.6 million salary may come from a calculation based on Brohm’s base salary, his 2019 media payout and the retention incentives added in the second amendment, without considering earned bonuses.

In 2019, Brohm earned three of his possible bonuses. He earned both academic bonuses, according to Purdue spokesperson Tim Doty, and Purdue’s 2019 recruiting class finished 25th in 247Sports’ rankings. This would bring his bonuses to $225,000 for the year.

Brohm is currently the eighth-highest paid coach in the NCAA, and he looks set to rise in that category if the team’s performance improves over the next few seasons.

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