State auditors: LSU overpaid head coach Brian Kelly $1 million

Brian Kelly earns $9.975 million per year under the terms of his current contract. But according to auditors, the university overpaid the LSU Tigers head coach by $1 million in 2022.

According to reports, LSU started paying Brian Kelly after he accepted the head coaching job in November of 2021. The university sent payments in $1 million increments to Kelly’s LLC, but a clerical error led to one-too-many direct deposits. The Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s Office discovered the overpayment in May. Since then, Kelly and LSU came to a reimbursement agreement that likely involves dedications from future salary payments.

Many LSU fans would argue that Brian Kelly deserves a pay bump after the Tigers’ 10-4 season. An extra $1 million for a win over Alabama, an SEC West title, and a Citrus Bowl win is arguably a bargain. Of course, an erroneous salary overpayment doesn’t constitute a pay raise, but Kelly is on par for one. In addition, Josh Heupel received a new contract from Tennessee on Tuesday, bumping his salary to $9 million a year. Granted, Kelly remains the better-compensated coach, but pay raises typically come when lesser-accomplished coaches sign new deals.,

Fans curious as to why LSU is directly depositing Brian Kelly’s salary into an LLC need not worry. While the practice appears sketchy, such is a common practice dating back more than 20 years. According to Ben Baby, using LLCs predominantly offers high-profile coaches liability protection. For example, the LLC protects the coach from a personal lawsuit in the event of litigation. In addition, LLCs, for better or worse, offer tax advantages but, more importantly, retirement benefits unavailable to an individual payee.

Ed Orgeron utilized an LLC during his tenure as LSU Tigers head coach. According to Baby, O’s LLC was named ‘The Rozy Finch Boyz LLC,’ a nod to his sons and an old address. Brian Kelly’s LLC goes by the less-creative title, ‘Kelly LLC.’ One can’t help but think ‘Fah-muh-lee LLC’ would be perfect for the Tigers’ head man.