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Deion Sanders is not the typical college football coach, especially not on the Power Five level. He is a Pro Football Hall of Famer, has one of the most recognizable brands in the sport, and has an estimated net worth around $50 million.
Although they hold the same title, Coach Prime is inherently different than Lincoln Riley, Sonny Dykes, Kirk Ferentz, Dabo Swinney or even Lane Kiffin. He is bigger than all of them, in a sense.
Sanders’ arrival at Colorado changed the entire landscape of the Pac-12, and college football.
It also makes for an interesting set of circumstances. Coach Prime doesn’t have any FBS coaching experience. He only coached on the FCS level for three seasons. He only began coaching in 2012— really 2015.
And yet his personality and persona is larger than life and he is taking over one of the worst programs in college football, a sport that generates billions of dollars each year.
How does that work? That question is yet to be answered, but it is going to be fun to watch unfold.
In addition to the open-ended nature of his young tenure in Boulder, Sanders’ contract comes with unique framework. Both financially and otherwise.
Deion Sanders’ contract is lucrative and notable.
Coach Prime signed a five-year deal with Colorado that was approved by the university’s Board of Regents late last month. It will be worth up to $29.5 million before bonuses and incentives.
Some of those incentives include:
- $200,000 annually for private jet usage.
- $750,000 bonus if Colorado wins the national championship.
- $450,000 bonus if Colorado reaches a New Year’s Six bowl.
- $150,000 bonus if Colorado wins six games in a season.
- $100,000 bonus for each additional win after the first six.
- $150,000 bonus for receiving an invitation to a non-NY6 bowl.
- $75,000 bonus if Colorado plays in the Pac-12 Championship.
- $150,000 bonus if Colorado wins the conference.
- $75,000 bonus is Sanders is named the Pac-12 Coach of the Year.
- $50,000 bonus each time that Colorado attains a team APR of at least 965.
- $50,000 bonus if Colorado attains a team APR of at least 954 in year one.
All of those things are fairly standard. However, according to a copy of the contract attained by Sean Keeler of The Denver Post, there is a unique clause after his third season.
Colorado and Sanders will “meet and confer in good faith” on a contract extension after the 2025 season. Topics must discuss “base, supplemental and incentive salary … liquidated damages … and termination without cause and obligation to mitigate,” per The Denver Post.
The uniqueness to his contract is also bigger than money.
Not long after Sanders’ playing days ended, the former two-sport athlete signed an endorsement contract with Under Armour. His son Shedeur, who was named the Buffaloes’ starting quarterback for 2023 during Coach Prime’s introductory press conference, signed a historic NIL deal with Under Armour back in November.
When Sanders arrived at Jackson State in 2020, the school was signed to a Nike apparel deal. It later switched to Under Armour with Coach Prime at the helm.
That is not the case for Colorado. It is a Nike school and will remain a Nike school, even though Deion and Shedeur Sanders have deals with Under Armour.
So how does that work? According to The Denver Post, another contract clause is in play.
Coach Prime will have to wear Nike-branded Buffalos gear “as appropriate.” It is vague and undefined, but gets the general idea across.
If he’s on the sideline, Sanders will be wearing Nike from head to toe. If he’s making a public appearance, Sanders will be wearing Nike. And so on and so forth.
There has never been another coach as big as Coach Prime and he makes for an interesting case study.