Southern California spent nearly $19.7 million on Lincoln Riley for his first season as football coach

Southern California spent nearly $19.7 million on Lincoln Riley for his first season as football coach

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University of Southern California football head coach Lincoln Riley was credited with nearly $10 million in base salary and a total of $19.7 million for the 2022 calendar year, the university’s new federal tax returns show.

The document — provided by the school on Wednesday in response to a request from USA TODAY Sports — shows that in addition to the base amount, Riley was credited with just over $9.6 million in what the document terms “other reportable compensation.” The university said in a statement Wednesday evening that the amount is connected to USC paying a $4.5 million buyout to the University of Oklahoma on Riley’s behalf, treating that amount as taxable income to Riley and then also paying the taxes that were due on that amount.

The new return is the first look at Riley’s pay from USC, which hired him away from Oklahoma in late November 2021.

The document also shows what USC paid to former defensive coordinator Alex Grinch, who accompanied Riley from Oklahoma. Grinch received nearly $2 million base salary and had more than $2.3 million in “other reportable compensation” that the university statement said also was connected to a buyout and tax payments. USC paid Oklahoma a $1.08 million buyout on Grinch’s behalf. Grinch was fired with two games left in the 2023 season.

In addition to the amounts for Riley and Grinch, the new return shows that USC paid former head coach Clay Helton nearly $4 million in severance in 2022. Last year, USC reported having paid Helton just over $900,000 in separation payments.

That means USC paid a total of $28 million in 2022 in connection with the employment of three football coaches, two of whom no longer work for the school.

Under IRS rules, while non-profit organizations — including college and universities — make most financial disclosures on a fiscal-year basis, they are required to report employee compensation figures on a calendar-year basis. They must use the calendar year completed during the given fiscal year. USC’s fiscal year covered by the new return ended June 30, 2023, so the 2022 calendar year is used for compensation reporting.

The payments that USC reported for Riley and Grinch are similar to those that the University of Miami showed for football coach Mario Cristobal on its recently released return. Cristobal was credited with just over $7.7 million in base pay, $14.9 million in “other reportable compensation” and a total of more than $22.7 million.

Miami hired Cristobal from the University of Oregon in December 2021. Miami athletics director Dan Radakovich confirmed to USA TODAY Sports that the $14.9 million in “other” pay for Cristobal included the $9 million buyout he owed to Oregon for breaking his coaching contract there to return to Miami, his alma mater. The tax gross-up pay on that accounted for the rest of the “other” compensation, Radakovich said.

In addition to the figures for the football coaches, USC’s new return showed men’s basketball coach Andy Enfield being credited with more than $4.2 million in total pay for the 2022 calendar year. His base compensation was reported as just over $3.55 million — nearly $360,000 more than the amount reported as his base in 2021.

Contributing: Brent Schrotenboer

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