Six months after Urban Meyer‘s hiring as the permanent replacement for Jim Tressel, Ohio State has released the details of the new head coach’s contract.
And, not so surprisingly, there are safeguards built into the deal that would protect Meyer if any past NCAA issues surface in the future.
As had previously been released, Meyer’s multi-year deal will average in the neighborhood of $4.4 million, which would make him the third-highest-paid head coach in the country behind Texas’ Mack Brown and Alabama’s Nick Saban. Including in that average annual compensation package is a signing bonus as well as retention bonuses — payable in 2014, 2016 and 2018 — that will total $2.4 million.
Meyer will also be eligible to receive bonuses for winning the Leaders Division ($50,000) and Big Ten championship game ($100,000); qualifying for a BcS bowl game ($150,000); and appearing in a national title game ($250,000).
Despite the fact that Ohio State is ineligible for the postseason in 2012 due to NCAA sanctions, Meyer will still be able to collect on those bonuses if certain conditions are met.
Additionally, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports, Meyer’s attorneys had language built into the contract that would protect the coach if more NCAA violations from the past come to light. If such a thing were to occur, Meyer would be free to walk away from the OSU job and receive $1.5 million per year remaining on his contract.
“We’re very confident we have no issues,” OSU athletic director Gene Smith told the Plain Dealer regarding the NCAA language written into the contract. “We scrubbed everything very hard, so when his attorneys asked for that, we felt comfortable doing that.”
Thanks to the situation that led to Tressel’s dismissal/resignation/retirement — Tressel knowing of potential NCAA violations committed by a handful of players and keeping it from his bosses — Ohio State also included provisions in the deal that would protect the university on the off-chance that Meyer goes all Vest on NCAA violations.
Section 5.1b of the contract, under termination, specifies one cause for termination. It deals with a “significant or repetitive or intentional violation” as determined by Ohio State, by Meyer or anyone under his supervision, including players, that Meyer knew about or “should have (in Ohio State’s determination) reasonably known about.”
So if a player is breaking NCAA rules, and Meyer knows it or should know it, Ohio State will hold him responsible. Tressel’s troubles started when he became aware of NCAA violations committed by some of his players and he did not tell Ohio State about them.
“We talked to our attorneys and our compliance office and added a few more things in there,” Smith said. “Considering the circumstances, we felt it was appropriate that we do that. It was more of a safeguard than anything.”
In addition to on-field performance, Meyer also stands to gain financially from his players performing well in the classroom, with bonuses for cumulative grade point averages of 3.0 ($50,000), 3.3 ($100,000) and 3.5 ($150,000) built into the contract.