Is it valid to rule out Urban Meyer because he would cost too much for USC?
Meyer made $7.6 million his final season at Ohio State. One could argue USC will not pay that much.
This is accepted in some circles even though Pete Carroll made $4.4 million in 2007, which was believed to be the most in the nation. By comparison, Nick Saban made $4 million that year.
What has changed?
It is true 10 years later USC paid Clay Helton $3.8 million in 2017. But USC really had no reason to pay him more. Steve Sarkisian made $3.7 million in 2015. Lane Kiffin was willing to make less so his father could get paid more than $1.5 million.
We are now in the USC era of George Tyndall lawsuits, slumping season-ticket sales and little ambition when it comes to hiring coaches in the minor sports.
But make no mistake, USC has the money if it wants to pay it. This why it is important whether these Lynn Swann rumors are true. Swann might not want to hire a big-time coach at a big-time salary because he would have little control over the coach. He would do it if new president Carol Folt wants to but we don’t know enough about her yet.
However, if USC hired a new athletic director, it is likely they would want to go out and make a splash with a marquee hire. And with Folt’s backing if she hired the AD.
If Swann makes $4 million a year, you could save $2-3 million right there by firing him and making a reasonable hire as athletic director. That would ease the pain of paying a real football coach. Alabama athletic director Greg Byrne, who used to be at Arizona, is going to make $1.13 million in the final year of his contract (2025). He makes $980,000 this year.
USC is literally shoveling cash into a dumpster fire with Swann. Put $3 million of his salary toward Meyer and then come up with another $5 million. That is more palatable.