Ohio State is paying football coach Urban Meyer a minimum of $4 million annually – more than his predecessor – and detailing in the contract what he’s required to do if an NCAA rules violation occurs under his watch.
The university completed details of Meyer’s contract and released it Monday. The board of trustees is expected to approve it later in the week.
The deal runs through the 2017 season and keeps the coach among the top five nationally in compensation.
Meyer was hired in November to rebuild the program, which got a one-year bowl ban for NCAA rules violations under former coach Jim Tressel.
Meyer’s contract guarantees him at least $4 million annually – up from Tressel’s $3.8 million – with a chance to make significantly more through bonuses, youth camps and other compensation. It includes perks common for football coaches at major universities – golf club membership, car stipends, tickets and a suite for home football games, use of private jets for recruiting and personal trips.
Meyer will get more than twice as much in guaranteed money as Ohio State President Gordon Gee, who is one of the best-compensated university presidents.
One main difference from Tressel’s deal: Meyer’s contract goes into greater detail about what he must do if he becomes aware that there is a potential violation of NCAA rules.
“Given the circumstances we had, we felt it was important to put provisions in there to make sure the right safeguards are in place on both sides,” athletic director Gene Smith said in a phone interview. “That’s been strengthened and beefed up.”
“I really don’t look at the contract,” Meyer said Monday night. “I had my attorney look at it. I just don’t deal with that or how it compares to other contracts across the country, so I never looked at it. We talked through it, and I’m OK with it.”
Tressel was forced out because he didn’t tell anyone that he received a tip about players violating NCAA rules.
Even though Ohio State can’t go to a bowl game this season, Meyer can still earn a bowl bonus. The contract includes a $50,000 bonus if Ohio State wins its Big Ten division, and an additional $100,000 if it wins the league championship. Meyer will get $150,000 for reaching a BCS bowl – and, since the Buckeyes are banned this season, he can get that by having Ohio State finish in the top 10 of the BCS final rankings.
Meyer gets $250,000 for reaching a national championship game. He gets that amount this season if Ohio State finishes in the top two in the BCS rankings.
Meyer also gets bonuses if his players do well academically – $50,000 if the team has a cumulative 3.0 grade-point average; $100,000 for a 3.3 average; $150,000 for a 3.5 average. The team’s grade-point average last school year was roughly 2.8.
“After watching how Urban runs things, we’re optimistic that the team, at some point, is going to get a 3.0,” Smith said.