10/17/2014 09:19 am ET Updated Dec 17, 2014

Highest-paid Illinois College Football Coaches

College football can be a huge money maker for schools. On top of being a way to generate revenue, good football teams can also help a school attract prospective students.

Football is essentially a major investment for colleges, and their board members are willing to shell out big bucks to hire and retain football coaches who can win and provide the maximum return on that investment. While football might not be as big in Illinois as it is in the South, particularly the Southeastern Conference -- where University of Alabama Head Coach, Nick Saban, made $5.4 million last year -- coaches at Illinois' public universities are still earning six-figure salaries.

Of Illinois' 12 public universities, six have football squads that compete in either the Division I-A (FBS) or I-AA (FCS) level. Since taxpayer dollars are on the hook for these salaries, take a look at what each coach is making, along with any additional compensation and bonus incentives. Contract details were obtained from each university through Freedom of Information Act Requests.

[Note: The NCAA changed its college football playoff rules, eliminating the Bowl Champion Series (BCS) system, which determined the top 25 rankings through a complex computer algorithm, and replaced it with selection committee consisting of experts responsible for issuing ranks. The Bleacher Report has more on these changes.]

Here are three of the coaches with the top Illinois football salaries.

6. Eastern Illinois University (FCS)

Coach Kim Dameron

Contract term: Jan. 11, 2014-Dec. 31, 2018
Base salary: $170,000
Additional compensation:
$500 automobile stipend
Base salary increase of $15,000 if employed through Sept. 1, 2017
Conference: Ohio Valley Conference
2013 season record: 12-2 (8-0 in OVC)

5. Western Illinois University (FCS)

Coach Bob Nielson

Contract term: July 1, 2014-Dec. 31, 2017
Base salary: $206,892
Conference: Missouri Valley Football Conference
2013 season record: 4-8 (2-6 in MVFC)

4. Southern Illinois University (FCS)

Coach Dale Lennon

Contract term: Jan. 1, 2014-Dec. 31, 2016
Base salary: $220,788
Additional compensation: $4,000 per year for each year Lennon's son is enrolled full-time at SIUC.
Conference: Missouri Valley Football Conference
2013 season record: 7-5 (5-3 in MVFC)

Check out Reboot Illinois to see which school's football team has a coach that makes almost half a million dollars a year, plus see what bonus incentives all football coaches receive every year.

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