New details on Tom Allen’s seven-year deal

When Tom Allen inked his first contract as Indiana’s head football coach, he earned a $25,000 signing bonus.

This time around, the stroke of Allen’s pen commanded $1 million.

That bonus is just one example of how the details of Allen’s new seven-year, $27.3 million deal reflect changing circumstances for the third-year coach and the program he leads.

Allen was just a first-time college head coach when he was promoted in late 2016, earning a contract that paid around $1.8 million annually with incentives to push it closer to $2 million.

When it was time for a renegotiation, Allen was leading an 8-4 football team on the verge of a Gator Bowl bid. At an annual rate of $3.9 million per year, Allen’s new deal not only pays him like his Big Ten counterparts. He’s incentivized in some of the same ways.

Gone are the bonus provisions that paid Allen $100,000 for each win past six, the threshold for bowl eligibility. But there are bonuses for some higher goals:

  • Allen earns $100,000 for every bowl appearance and $50,000 for each bowl game won.
  • He receives $50,000 if the Hoosiers win the Big Ten East.
  • He gets another $150,000 if IU wins the overall conference title.
  • He wins $50,000 for being a Big Ten coach of the year, and $100,000 for a national coach of the year award.
  • He pulls in $200,000 for reaching a New Year’s Six bowl and $250,000 for a trip to the College Football Playoff.

Some of these bonuses may seem far-fetched for a program that hasn’t won the Big Ten in 52 years or a bowl in 28, especially the $350,000 reward for appearing in a national title game and $400,000 for winning it all.

But they offer a window into what Allen and the football program is aiming for. They aren’t selling themselves short.

One key aspect of the deal is what IU athletic director Fred Glass terms the “evergreen” provision. Every year the Hoosiers make a bowl, another year will be added to the end of Allen’s contract.

“(That) hopefully avoids the question of ‘Coach, you don’t have many years left,’ because my expectation is we won’t get to that point,” Glass said. “That’s something, frankly, Tom’s representatives didn’t ask for. That’s something I wanted.

“I wanted to have that commitment out there again. An institutional commitment, not just an athletic department commitment.”

Throughout the life of the deal, Allen will receive a base salary of $500,000. His per-year increases will come from outside, marketing, and promotional income, starting at $2.25 million in the first year and hitting $3.05 million in the seventh.

Every time a new year is added via the “evergreen” clause, Allen’s promotional income will increase by $100,000. For example, if the Hoosiers were to make a bowl game in 2020, the year added to Allen’s contract would include $3.15 million in outside, marketing and promotional income.

Allen’s seven-year deal runs until Nov. 30, 2026, and includes annual deferred compensation of $500,000, paid out each November starting in 2021.

There are several added perks, which are mostly consistent with Allen’s last contract. He will still receive a yearly allowance of $10,000 for orders of Adidas products, unlimited use of IU’s golf course, and eight season tickets apiece to football and men’s basketball home games.

His cell phone stipend increases from the previous deal, from $125 per month to $150.

There are also measures in Allen’s new contract to take care of his staff, most notably the $500,000 added to the salary pool for assistant coaches.

“I think it was something, you know, we both agreed was very important,” Allen said. “I just think you have to invest in your staff, you have to invest in your people, and the whole variety of roles that are represented, and both the strength staff, recruiting staff, coaching staff, everything that plays a huge role in doing what we do as a program.”

There was a specific bullet point in Allen’s deal devoted to the Hoosiers’ performance coaches, Dr. Matt Rhea (speed) and David Ballou (strength). It commits IU to providing Ballou and Rhea “assistant coach” term contracts, which means they will automatically renew from year to year.

It’s just another sign of how much Allen values the duo. Last offseason, IU fended off NFL suitors by offering Ballou and Rhea significant raises. Ballou’s salary jumped from $216,000 to $400,000, while Rhea’s increased from $150,000 to $375,000.

The additional $500,000 for assistant coaches’ pay, specifically, continues the athletic department’s efforts to boost football’s profile. The biggest example coming into this season was the hiring of Kalen DeBoer as offensive coordinator for close to $1 million a year, the richest contract for an assistant in IU history.

“You have to continue to invest in those areas and be competitive from a market value standpoint for each position,” Allen said of the added money to his assistants pool. “I think both sides were very, very understanding that that was important.”

The deal, in its totality, is somewhat surreal for Allen, who started his college coaching career as an assistant at Wabash in 2007. His first Power 5 coordinating job was at South Florida in 2015, and Allen came to Bloomington as defensive coordinator in 2016.

Allen was asked Sunday if he could have ever imagined signing a contract like this one when he first got into college coaching. He thought about his wife, a school teacher, who was the main breadwinner then.

“She had to get a new job every time we moved, and that was seven moves in 10 years,” Allen said. “She was the one that had the brunt of that, you know? She had to get a new job every year, because she was making more than I was, you know, at most of those places.

“You knew hopefully, one day, you would have a chance to make a little bit more. But to say that I would ever dream of that, think of that? No. It was really beyond my wildest dreams, to be honest with you.”

32 comments

  1. Offer him a $5.56 bonus for every extra seat sold in average per season attendance for games at Memorial.

    Example: avg. attendance increases 15,000 per game.
    15,000 x 5.56 = $83,400/per game bonus
    $83,400 x 6 home games = $500,400!

    Impossible feat bonus needs an impossible butts in seat bonus!

    1. As BK often said. 3 times mental to 1 time physical. It seems IU athletics has a culture of psycho babble in both, basketball and football.

  2. It is my hope that soon, IU will have to offer TA yet another new contract, kind of like MN recently did with there head coach.

    The details about the biggest incentive bonus diminishes my regard for the contract a little bit. I guess IU had to put those incentives in his contract, but “$250,000 for a trip to the College Football Playoff” is kind of silly. It’s kind of like incentivizing a clinical biologist that when he/she discovers the cure for all forms of cancer, they’ll get a big bonus. Incentives should be achievable, and sorry, but I don’t believe IU getting into the college football playoffs as achievable in TA’s lifetime. So a few of those were “throw-away” incentives and are therefore worthless. When IU wins nine or ten regular season games and is consistently ranked among the top-20 teams in the country, or if IU plays in or wins the Big Ten Championship, IU is going to have to give TA an entirely new contract with a base salary that will make the incentive for playing in the national football playoffs almost irrelevant.

    But hey, there are several really good and clever aspects of this new contract and I give credit to Fred Glass for getting it done. If TA is happy, then who am I to complain? Go Hoosiers, beat Tennessee.

  3. MONEY MONEY MONEY
    If IU beats Tennessee it will be IU’s first win of the season over another team with a winning record. Enjoy
    IU Coaching football career success = overall career 1 win above 500…1 win above 500 in pre conference schedule…1 win above 500 in big ten (TA has ground to make up)…1 win above 500 in bowl games…and call it a day. That’s has good as it gets for IU football.

  4. All these bowl games are parallel to Indiana class football = make it possible for everybody to get a trophy. And now presenting (for decades now) presenting Indiana High School class basketball.

  5. If you want to see how much the internet reflects reality, just look at this thread. A handful of posters whining and complain and are massively negative towards Indiana’s best season since the ice age. The correlation being that those who are upset, seem to only think Indiana sports mattered when humans were still hunting mastodons and their greatest worry was being hunted by the short-nosed bear.

    Yet, I watched the Purdue game with about 50 Indiana fans in San Francisco, who were all really happy with the football season and think we are all headed in the right direction. Maybe other of my fellow graduates were really happy with this imperfect, but much improved season. The possibilities that this season is a stepping stone in the right direction, versus the dreary days of not even having a chance to compete.

    So, look no further than this thread to understand how negativity feeds like parasites. Those who have a problem seem to be very very loud about it. It doesn’t reflect how most people feel.

    1. DD,
      Like you, I am encouraged by the results from the 2019 season. I look at it as a successful season, but not necessarily the breakthrough season some desire. I look at this season more in terms of what I hope is a stepping stone to further success. IUFB has been at the cusp of potential success a few times over the years, but it always seems to slip away in a couple years. Hopefully, this current success will be the exception rather than the rule, and TA can truly transform IUFB.

      As for the naysayers, westlaffyitis has been popping up frequently on this board. I can’t blame them. After the season they had what else can they do?

  6. How many times can the same thing be said over and over and over again? One can certainly have a negative opinion, but it can be said, then let it breathe. It shows how weak the argument is when it has be carpet bombed over everyone else.

  7. I am sure glad not to be one of the negative ones. I don’t blame you for calling out those who are unrealistically living negatively in the Disneyland Park. Reality is what a successful IU football coaching career will reflect and that’s quite a bit of improvement that I forecast over past history and tradition. That would include a few winning seasons to balance out into above 500 football instead of the past 38% season wins and 27% bowl wins.

  8. What’s not to be happy about with this IU FB season? How can any real Hoosier fan be anything but happy about an 8-win season and optimistic about the future of IU FB. I didn’t expect eight wins and the Gator Bowl back in August. I would have been delighted to sign up for a six-win season last summer, so this team’s performance exceeded my expectations. I guess misery loves company and some folks just need to try to spread their unhappiness to others.

    think, I believe and will consider this season a “breakthrough” season if IU beats TN in the Gator Bowl. Has IU ever defeated an SEC team in a bowl game before (I really don’t know)? If not, it will still be a very good season for IU and go a long way to helping TA build his program.

    As TA explained in his recent press conference with Glass at his side, the benefits of the extra practices IU gets in preparation for this bowl game is like getting an additional spring camp! It’s huge for the mental development of IU’s young players and will increase their rate of comprehension for next season. With the exception of the incoming freshman that enroll in January, these additional practices will help IU’s returning players improve their mental preparation, not to mention reinforce techniques that may have eroded during the season. So win or lose in the Gator Bowl, this is huge for IU FB and every real Hoosier fans should be happy.

  9. I’m just tickled with IUFB at 8-4 this year, but I can understand some of the skepticism regarding Allen’s new contract. Glass did what he had to do, given the market he is in. But its impossible not to question the market:

    $4 million per annum for the rehire of Schiano at Rutgers. He was 68-67 during his first stint at RU, which did include 2006 at 11-2. But he went 28-48 in the Big East (not exactly the toughest slate). The Scarlet Tights never won the Big East conference, and went 1-23 against teams ranked in the Top 25.

    Lovie Smith and his beard went 9-27 (4 conf. wins) in his first three years at Illinois and was rewarded with a two-year extension at $4 million per.

    At Purdoo-doo, Brohm was 13-13 his first two years (9 conf. wins). Confronted with this record, the W. Laughingstock brain trust decided the thing do was tear up the contract and give Jeffrey six million dollars a year for seven freakin’ years.

    And that’s just one conference. .500 ball (or even less) is the new standard of success. Is there an emoji for a cynically arched eyebrow? If so, please insert here.

  10. davis, if you look at the compensation numbers in a vacuum, they do look ridiculous. But you have to look at them relative to the market conditions. You can’t criticize a market! American society establishes the college football market, and it’s the market that determines what these men get paid. Think of these head coaches as CEOs of companies that have the responsibility to generate enormous revenues for their employers. Look at how much revenue IU FB generates for IU. Look at IU’s potential to increase FB revenue, and not just from ticket sales to home games! Given the market, Glass and McRobbie did what they had to do, and I don’t believe they over-spent (like Purdue did) by one dime. You either invest to make your FB program competitive, or you lose the opportunity to increase revenues necessary to fund the other varsity sports for both men and women.

    Look at OSU, MI, MSU and other Big Ten schools that have varsity hockey teams. Where does all the money necessary to fund a varsity hockey team at those schools come from? Where does the money for women’s field hockey come from? It comes from Football. IU does not have a men’s varsity hockey program. Why? Because IU FB does not generate enough revenue to fund a hockey program.

    It is my hope that TA will be so successful in the next two or three years that Iu will be forced to give him another new contract that pays him an even higher salary. That’s the kind of problem IU would love to have.

  11. I think the market somewhat dictates compensation, as does the neighborhood in which you live (the BiG and the P5). Given those factors, Allen isn’t overpaid, even if his results aren’t yet sustained.

    As for Purdue, the argument that Brohm is overpaid is easily offset by their relative attendance advantage which, when ancillary revenues are considered, more than pays for the salary differential.

    1. It’s not just these situations but it is a great AMERICAN LIE “the market conditions and value” or “it is according to what the market will bear” determines fill in the blank in this case salaries. I agree that it should be that way. However, it is not.

  12. Sorry BD, but IMO Purdue grossly over-paid to keep Brohm, both relative to his experience, performance and other Big Ten and Power-five conference schools. I think fear had a lot to do with the comp package Purdue gave him. Purdue ended up negotiating against themselves and ended up buying Brohm’s loyalty (he wanted to go back to Louisville). I doubt any other school in the country was willing to pay Brohm $6.6 million per year. I could understand Purdue paying him $5 to $5.5 million per year, but $6.6 million made Purdue look desperate. Brohm is not the second best coach in the Big Ten, and Purdue FB will never generate anywhere near the FB revenue generated by OSU, PSU, MI, Iowa and Nebraska. At best, they might generate the type of revenue MSU gets from FB.

    So in retrospect, McRobbie and Glass did a much better job securing TA than Purdue did securing Brohm. With his contract, Brohm is going to be under enormous pressure to produce enormous success in the immediate future. But if Purdue has another losing season in 2020, or when they lose to IU next year in Bloomington, Purdue fans are going to be howling that Brohm is overpaid. IMO, IU got much better value for TA than Purdue did for Brohm.

    1. Interesting that you weren’t able to refute the basic economics of Brohm’s deal relative to Allen’s, since the numbers aren’t really in question. UL could’ve paid JB the same amount PU paid him, so that was never the reason he stayed there. In the end, very few coaches leave a BiG gig, even for their hometown school. That, plus PU’s football commitment, is why he stayed.

      As for TA, IU continues to pay below market, but they’re comfortable with a program that produces at level. It’s a relative bargain of winning isn’t the primary objective, so IU achieved their goal, as did PU.

      1. Maybe I’m oversimplifying…..I ain’t too bright. But what we’re saying here is whatever is paid to a coach mirrors future success ….or even guarantees you’ll find a level of success to correspond to the pay (as if pay increments guarantees success increments tied to the water seeking its own level)?

        Maybe basketball examples from across the parking lot don’t apply…but please explain how Crean gets 30 million over 9 seasons for topping out at Sweet Sixteens while a Loyola of Chicago coach gets a successful Final Four trip for a $1.99 and a Sister Jean?

      2. The numbers aren’t really in question? They’re all ginned up! PO, I agree that you can’t criticize a market, it reflects societal values. But one can sure criticize those. Which is why I call college football my guilty pleasure- those values are reflected in my eyeballs while they are glued to a boob tube for three hours every autumn Saturday absorbing all those commercials. Which, of course, don’t affect me, no siree, no influence at all do they have on me, mister. None whatsoever.

        1. Then what is your criticism, that the figures are simply “too much” without offering any data or market comparison upon which you base your view? And what about them is “all ginned up”?

          1. From the Wall Street Journal: ” Florida State’s scanned attendance was only 57 percent of its official attendance in 2017 . . . .”

            “Purdue’s official attendance took the highest jump in the country last season, up 13,433 fans per game, but the school said they couldn’t report the scanned figures to the Journal because of “outdated equipment, connectivity problems and user error.””

            “At Michigan, where the Wolverines hold claim to a streak of 100,000-plus attendance in every game since 1975, attendance stats showed two games in 2017 where scanned tickets dipped below 80,000. Don’t worry, there’s a wonderful explanation for that discrepancy: A Michigan spokesman said surges of fans at gates just before kickoff sometimes prompt workers to tear tickets rather than scanning them. Michigan counts the media, stadium workers and marching bands in its announced attendance.”

            “The NCAA accepts the announced attendance numbers schools submit ‘at face value.’”
            Bear, that’s what I call “ginned up.” What do you call it?

  13. BD, it’s easy to “refute the basic economics of Brohm’s deal” and conclude that Purdue over-spent. Ross Ade Stadium’s capacity is 56,400. Memorial Stadium’s capacity is 53,500. The difference is 2,900 seats. Assuming both schools have six home games each season, and assuming both stadiums are filled to capacity for each home game, and assuming Purdue and IU fans have the same average spend per home game, IU get’s much better value (or R.O.I.) on TA’s contract than Purdue gets on Brohm’s contract.

    If both IU and Purdue fill their stadiums for each home game and generate an average of $35 per attendee, Purdue would generate about $609,000 more revenue per YEAT than IU. But the difference between the two coaches’ salaries (before bonuses) is $2.8 million per year. So, on the basis of FB revenue for home games, you can easily conclude that Purdue over-spent on Brohm’s contract. It would be entirely different if Ross Ade Stadium held 90,000 people.

    Maintaining the assumptions that both Ross Ade and Memorial Stadium would be sold out for every home game and that attendees for both schools have the same average spend per game, the only way Purdue makes’s Brohm’s contract as economically efficient as TA’s contract is to significantly increase prices for tickets, parking, and food & beverage. Or let’s it put it this way: accepting all the assumptions presented above, Brohm’s annual compensation package, before bonuses, represents a much higher percentage of Purdue’s total revenue from home football games compared to the compensation package IU gave TA. If you want numbers, let’s use these. Conservative estimated yearly revenue from Purdue’s home FB games = $11,844,000. Percentage of that revenue spent on Brohm’s $6.6 million annual compensation = 55.7%. Conservative estimated yearly revenue from IU’s home FB games = $11,235,000. Percentage of that revenue spent on TA’s $3.8 million annual compensation = 33.8%. Plug in any estimate of annual revenue, and the conclusion will be the same.

    IMO, the difference in compensation between the two coaches reflects Purdue administration’s confidence that Purdue fans will increase support for a winning FB program. IMO, TA’s compensation package reflects that IU’s administration does not have high confidence that the Hoosier Nation will increase support for a winning IU FB program. Glass and McRobbie were hedging his bets because of the Hoosier Nation’s historically weak support for IU FB.

    Ironically, when Purdue gave Brohm that new contract, they accelerated the rate of inflation associated with college football coaching compensation. Louisville pays Satterfield $3.25 million per year. Do you really think Louisville would have paid Brohm more than $5 million to return home? Purdue negotiated against themselves and over-spent.

    1. Assuming they both sell out? That’s your “data”? Purdue significantly outdraws IU, creating an easy and verifiable difference in football revenues. And that’s only one source of revenues, if you actually looked a little deeper. Sorry, business works on verifiable results, not assumptions. Purdue didn’t overpay as much as IU underpaid. And it’s all about the commitment of the schools toward their football programs.

  14. BD, you make my argument for me. Purdue overspent and ended negotiating against itself. It’s self-evident, no matter how you try to justify it. Purdue didn’t need to spend that much to sustain their home game attendance. They didn’t need to spend that much to try to increase attendance (i.e., revenue), and they didn’t need to spend that much to keep Brohm from taking the Louisville job. Do you believe Brohm would have turned down an offer of $5 million or $5.5 million per year? Do you think that no other coach in the country was available to take the Purdue job for $4.5 to $5.5 million per year? No way! Purdue either panicked or they got rolled by Brohm’s agent.

    Do the math. Plug in any set of numbers that you want. Try to justify Purdue spending $6.6 million per season to keep Brohm. On what financial basis is that justified? Just be careful not to contort yourself to the point where you pull something.

  15. You keep showing that you don’t understand how college sports work. Purdue wanted to keep Brohm and they made him an offer to do that. Their attendance alone pays for the increase. Those are facts that you have shown you can’t comprehend. And your your admitted lack of knowledge about the specifics of the deal only further proves you don’t understand how this got done. As for Allen, there’s no demand whatsoever for his services outside of IU for him, yet IU just doubled his compensation. If you’re concerned about justifying something, that
    should be an issue for you.

  16. Bear: Ignoring my December 14, 2019 at 12:47 a.m. reply about why I say college football attendance figures are ginned up? No comment on the fact that Fla. St. actual attendance was 57% of reported attendance?

  17. Some attendance figures are definitely “tickets sold” rather people through the turnstiles. That’s always been the case for IU, and that’s been going on for decades. It’s not a new phenomenon by any stretch of the imagination, and it’s far less of a criterion for determining salaries. Again, this isn’t anything new. Check out conference distributions to member schools for a roadmap to more relevant metrics.

    1. I agree, Bear, that there are other relevant metrics. Particularly donor money. IF Brohm can have success at Purdoo-doo that increases booster funds, then he will not have been overpaid. But given his huge salary, that would have to be a lot of success. As to our attendance debate, I’m not confident that the reported numbers are even based on tickets sold. As the Wall Street Journal noted, Michigan counts media, stadium workers, and the marching bands in its figures. But of course, I’m not arguing against the basic idea that more fannies in the stands = more bucks in the bank.

      1. No idea if it’s still out there, but see if you can find an article that addressed Northwestern’s trip to the 1996 Rose Bowl and the NU President’s (Henry Bienen) astonishment at the enormous spike in donations that accompanied their magical season. He had never fathomed the degree to which sports success could drive alumni giving, something that led to various facilities naming gifts that poured into the University as a result of that year. In other words, paying a million or two above some artificially determined market rate is peanuts compared to what happens if the results hit.

        Purdue chose to invest with the guy they went out and aggressively pursued. IU took the more passive path.

  18. Bear, no need to look it up, your memory serves quite well. Another thing related to that season is that although NU never wants for applications for admissions, the numbers for that shot up that season, too, and that’s the story with a lot of schools when something like NU 1996 happens to them. But as I’ve stated in my debates with PO about increased attendance paying for better coaching staff, despite the turnaround (compare NUFB of the twenty most recent years to the twenty prior to 1996 and no doubt the change has been amazing) NU still draws at the very bottom of the B1G. So if even if TA is able to turn IUFB into a regular winner, given the culture of Indiana football, the only significant revenue increase is likely to come from booster donations, not ticket sales. Sorry to be wet blanket on the party, but that’s the reality.

  19. No argument from me as to why attendance at major college sporting events continues to decline. And all the more reason why I agree with so many college football “experts” within the media that Purdue over spent to keep Brohm. Remember, the cost of a ticket to a college football game is only a portion of the money that attendees spend at the games.

    Just another reason why I hope Purdue fails to have a winning season again next year. I can almost hear the howling from the Purdue fan base right now when the sixth highest paid coach in the BCS produces a second loosing season in a row.

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