Mississippi football head coach Lane Kiffin was not with the Rebels for their 43-24 victory over Louisville on Monday night in Atlanta because he tested positive for COVID-19, but he will still collect the $100,000 bonus he gets for any regular-season victory over a Power Five non-conference team, Mississippi athletics director Keith Carter said after the game.
The bonus is among those listed on a term sheet for Kiffin that was provided by the school earlier this summer in lieu of the agreement between Kiffin and the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation. The foundation provides most of Kiffin’s basic compensation ($4.5 million this season), as well as his bonuses. As private, non-profit organization, however, it is not subject to open-records disclosure requirements - and it does not make the deal public.
The decision to honor the bonus makes Kiffin the first coach this season to secure a six-figure performance-incentive bonus. Nevada’s Jay Norvell and Texas-San Antonio’s Jeff Traylor each gained $25,000 on Saturday when their teams defeated Power Five conference opponents - California and Illinois, respectively.
While Kiffin was not on the sideline Monday night, Mississippi did not designate an interim head coach for the game. The athletics department said in a statement that there would be “no change in gameday coaching responsibilities for the staff” and Kiffin “will be involved in game planning leading up to kickoff.”
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This is the second time that a Mississippi head coach has gained this type of bonus. In 2018, Matt Luke picked up $150,000 for a non-conference regular season win over a Power Five opponent. That was against Texas Tech, also in an alternate-site game at the start of the season.
In addition to the amount Kiffin picked up Monday night, he can get $150,000 for each win against a Southeastern Conference opponent, beginning with the team’s fifth such win of the regular season.
Kiffin’s deal also has an array of incentives related to postseason appearances and wins, coach of the year honors, team academic performance and the number of season tickets that Mississippi sells.
As was the case when Luke got his bonus for the win over Texas Tech, Mississippi will be due a sizable appearance fee for playing in Monday night’s game that will help cover Kiffin’s payment. Assuming it sold all 29,550 tickets it was required to buy under the game contract, Mississippi will come away with a $4.25 million payout.