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Oklahoma approves two-year contract extension, future raises for Lincoln Riley

Earlier this month, Oklahoma announced that head football coach Lincoln Riley would be taking a 10-percent cut in pay. A couple of weeks later, Riley has himself a reworked contract. One that will include future raises. And no doubt raise questions about the timing.

Tuesday, the Oklahoma Board of Regents formally approved a contract extension for Riley. The new deal adds two years onto his old one, a move that would keep with the Oklahoma football program through the 2025 season.

It should be noted that the contract was agreed to in principle in February, prior to the coronavirus pandemic enveloping the sport. Athletic director Joe Castiglione stated he thought it was important the agreement was honored.

That agreement came on the heels of intense speculation of Riley potentially leaving the Sooners for the NFL.

Last year, Riley was paid nearly $6.4 million, a figure that was second in the Big 12 and ninth nationally. Because of the pay cut, Riley will make “just” $6.15 million in 2020. Over the next five years, though, his salary would, with today’s figures, make him the highest-paid coach in the Big 12. His 2023 salary (see below) would’ve been the third-highest in college football this past season.

  • 2020: $6.15 million
  • 2021: $8.05 million
  • 2022: $7.565 million
  • 2023: $8.275 million
  • 2024: $7.585 million
  • 2025: $7.585 million

In addition to the guaranteed compensation, Riley would be in line for a pair of retention bonuses as well. If he is still the Oklahoma head football coach on April 1, 2021, he would receiver another $500,000. On Jan. 31, 2024, he would receive another $750,000 as a stay benefit.

In three seasons with the Sooners, the 36-year-old Riley -- he’ll turn 37 Sept. 5 -- has gone 36-6 overall and 24-3 in Big 12 play. In fact, they’ve gone an identical 12-2 in back-to-back-to-back seasons. OU has won the conference each of those seasons and has played in the College Football Playoff/New Year’s Six Bowl all three years as well.