The private school, which doesn't make coaching contracts public, is paying Kiffin $4 million a year -- nearly as much as it paid Pete Carroll -- according to a report on HBO's "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel," which will air on Tuesday night.
Carroll was paid $4.4 million, and he won two national championships and seven Pac-10 titles.
Kiffin, who made $2 million last season in Tennessee, is on par with veteran coaches Mack Brown of Texas, Alabama's Nick Saban, Florida's Urban Meyer, LSU's Les Miles and Oklahoma's Bob Stoops in terms of salary. He ranks ahead of Ohio State's Jim Tressel. Every one of those coaches has won at least 12 games in a season en route to national championships.
The salary pool for Kiffin and his Tennessee staff last season totaled $5,625,000, which included his father and defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin's $1.5 million salary (counting a $300,000 payment he pocketed in December) and recruiting coordinator/defensive line coach Ed Orgeron's $650,000 salary. Both coaches were hired for Lane Kiffin's staff at USC.
The HBO report said that Monte Kiffin makes "around" $2 million per year at USC, shattering the record he set at Tennessee as college football's first million-dollar assistant. It is around the $2.2 million he made as defensive coordinator of the Super Bowl-winning Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
A source close to the situation told ESPN The Magazine's Bruce Feldman on Tuesday that the report was incorrect and figures for Lane and Monte Kiffin's contracts were exaggerated.
Kiffin was 7-6 in his one season at Tennessee before leaving in January and 5-15 in one-plus seasons with the Raiders before being fired in September 2008.
He was a member of the USC coaching staff from 2001 to '06, first as wide receivers coach and then as offensive coordinator under Carroll.