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LSU HC Brian Kelly Was Overpaid by More Than $1M in 2022, per Auditor

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIJanuary 25, 2023

ORLANDO, FLORIDA - JANUARY 02: Head coach Brian Kelly of the LSU Tigers looks on during the Cheez-It Citrus Bowl against the Purdue Boilermakers at Camping World Stadium on January 02, 2023 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The Louisiana Legislative Auditor's office released a public report of its audit of the LSU athletic department and revealed that the school overpaid football head coach Brian Kelly by $1,001,368 in May and June 2022 (h/t Holly Duchmann of Greater Baton Rouge Business Report).

The report revealed that LSU made supplemental payments directly to Kelly from when he was hired in Nov. 2021 to April 2022. However, the school also began making supplemental payments to Kelly's LLC (limited liability company) in May 2022.

The intention was to pay the coach through the LLC as opposed to directly, but the school accidentally made double payments in May and June 2022. LSU discovered the error in November 2022, and an adjusted payment schedule was been put in place so the university can recoup the overpayment by the end of fiscal year 2023.

Duchmann also summarized other concerns found in the audit:

"State auditors noted multiple errors related to coaches' pay by the university's athletics program last year. The school also misclassified nearly $6.7 million in severance payments as coaching salaries, benefits and bonuses on its Statement of Revenues and Expenses and omitted nearly $140 million in debt on its NCAA Financial Report."

Kelly left Notre Dame for LSU in Nov. 2021 and signed a 10-year deal worth just over $100 million in basic compensation, per Steve Berkowitz of USA Today, who provided some information about the coach's supplemental pay and bonuses:

"Kelly's supplemental pay has a series of scheduled increasesβ€”to $8.8 million in 2023, $9 million in 2025, $9.2 million in 2027, $9.4 million in 2029 and $9.6 million in 2031. But the deal has provisions that will allow him to increase those payments. It also offers the possibility of $1.325 million in annual bonuses, including $500,000 each time LSU is 'bowl eligible.' This is likely the largest bonus payment for becoming eligible for a bowl game that does not involve a contract extension."

LSU enjoyed a great first season under Kelly, going 10-4 and reaching the SEC Championship Game after winning the West division. It was a great comeback season for the Tigers after going just 11-12 in their previous two campaigns.

The Tigers' regular-season highlight was a 32-31 overtime win over Alabama, and they ended the year by defeating Purdue 63-7 in the Citrus Bowl

LSU was as high as sixth in the Associated Press poll before settling in at No. 16.