Urban Meyer’s (Proposed) Official Contract Released
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Urban Meyer has finally dotted the i on his Ohio State employment contract. Now he is just waiting on the Board of Trustees to approve it.
The Ohio State University released Meyer’s official contract — all 27 pages — on Monday, six months after he was introduced as the new head football coach in Columbus, but it won’t become finalized until the board votes on Friday.
They are expected to approve the contract, which will pay Meyer $24 million over six years. At $4.44 million per year, Meyer is the highest-paid coach in the Big Ten Conference, and the fourth-highest paid coach in all of college football.
Only Nick Saban ($5.62 million), Mack Brown ($5.2 million) and Bob Stoops ($4.875 million) are scheduled to make more under their current agreements. Meyer’s contract is loaded with incentive bonuses, including a $250,000 signing bonus and retention bonuses through 2018 that total $2.4 million.
As part of the agreement between Meyer and Ohio State, the new football coach must report any potential NCAA violations to the athletic director and Department of Compliance in writing, unless otherwise stipulated by the University.
“Coach Meyer’s contract reflects our expectations for success in the classroom and performance on the field, while establishing incentives to keep him here through the length of his contract,” current Athletic Director Gene Smith said Monday.
“As we said at the time we introduced him as our new coach, his compensation and benefits package will be among the top five coaching contracts in the country, consistent with his proven track record and what we expect of him at Ohio State.”
The requirement to provide written notice of potential violations was not a part of Jim Tressel’s contract at Ohio State, but the University felt it was necessary after the scandal that rocked Ohio State last year.
Meyer’s contract can be terminated by the University for any act which brings himself or the Ohio State into public disrepute, embarrassment or scandal. If Meyer were to be terminated before Jan. 31, 2014, his highest payout from Ohio State would be $15,375,127. After that, it drops to $11,931,731.
This new “ethics clause” is a two-way street, however, as the contract permits Meyer to walk away form his position as head coach if Ohio State is further penalized for any violations that preceded his employment with the University.
Ohio State would then have to pay Meyer $1.5 million per year for the remainder of his contract, after claiming to have informed him “of all significant issues of which it is aware.”
That is not something Smith is worried about.
“Coach Meyer joined our program at a very challenging time,” Smith said.
“I am pleased with what he has done over the past six months to develop our student athletes and continue our compliance culture.”
Meyer’s contract calls for an automatic one-year extension and $100,000 bonus for winning the Big Ten championship game, which they are not eligible for this coming season because of NCAA sanctions.
Meyer can still earn the extension, and a $50,000 bonus, if the Buckeyes win enough games that they would have qualified for the Big Ten championship game this fall.
He can also earn an additional $150,000 bonus for reaching a BCS bowl game, and $250,000 for reaching the BCS National Title game.
That was one of the issues in the contract Meyer and Ohio State had agreed upon back in November. At the time, they did not know, or expect, they would receive a postseason ban from the NCAA.
As a result, the new contract says Meyer will get the BCS bowl bonus this year if the Buckeyes are ranked between No. 3 and No. 10 in the final BCS standings, and the title game bonus if they finish No. 1 or No. 2 in the final BCS standings.
The only problem with it is the fact Ohio State is not eligible to be ranked in the BCS standings as a part of its one-year probation from postseason play. The Buckeyes can appear in the Associated Press Poll, but they cannot be ranked in the USA Today coaches' or Harris polls because of their punishment.
Along with the production on the field, Meyer can receive bonuses for his team’s work in the classroom. Meyer will receive a $50,000 bonus for having a cumulative 3.0 GPA. That bonus jumps to $100,000 for a 3.3 GPA and $150,000 for a 3.5 cumulative GPA.
Meyer's agreement with Ohio State will terminate automatically on Jan. 31, 2018, unless extended before then.
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