U of M football coach tackles issue of pay equity

More money — but with stipulations (MPR Photo / Alex Friedrich)

University of Minnesota head football coach Jerry Kill said Monday he appreciates the restructured contract that has almost doubled his pay to $2.1 million this year.

At his first press conference after Saturday’s announcement of the pay raise, he said such salaries are part of the entertainment business and will continue to climb.

But Kill also told reporters such pay may not be fair considering the work done by many Americans who earn less — including members of his family:

“I would say it’s not fair when your brother calls you up and goes, ‘You ain’t worth that. I can tell you that. I’m sitting here working on beef cattle, and they’re paying you that to coach football? Is this country crazy?”

Kill’s received a year’s extension, and now runs through the 2018-19 season.

The contract includes language ensuring that the salary pool of Kill’s assistant coaches be among the top six in the Big Ten.

Kill, who is known for keeping the same crew among him for years, told reporters he “wouldn’t have signed the contract” without that stipulation.

The contract also includes language that removes Kill as head coach or suspends his pay if his epilepsy prevents him from working for extended periods.

According to the document, the U could remove Kill as head coach if he was “unable to perform one or more essential functions” of his position for 90 days.

It could also suspend his pay if he couldn’t work for 45 days during the football season or 70 days in the off season.

The coach declined to discuss the terms at a press conference, but said the U has treated him fairly.

“I just want to keep my job, so there’s always stipulations on everything,” he said. “I told you I’m not going to cheat the university. I know my back’s against the wall — all those kinds of things. But I think this sends a message to all the kids that we’re recruiting right now.”

In October, Kill took time off to treat his epilepsy after a seizure caused him to miss a game against Michigan.

He has suffered a handful of game-day seizures in his three seasons with the U.

Under Kill, the team has a record of 17 wins and 21 losses — but its performance is improving.

His first two years posted losing records. But last year the team went 8-5, and for the first time in 40 years it had four straight wins against Big Ten rivals.

The team played in its second bowl game that year, and ended a 16-game losing streak to Nebraska.

The Gophers also broke team academic performance records.

Below is Kill’s new contract, followed by the old one: