The punishments Urban Meyer was already aware of won’t keep him from earning bonus money during his first season as the coach at Ohio State.
If some violations pop up that he didn’t know about, Meyer will also have the option to cash in part of his lucrative contract and leave.
Final details of Meyer’s contract with the Buckeyes were released by the school Monday, a deal expected to be approved by the Board of Trustees this week. Both sides appear to have sought security in the aftermath of the NCAA violations that led to Jim Tressel’s resignation last year.
The 27-page document provides clear language for how Meyer should report potential violations committed by anybody on the staff, the team or under his supervision, a likely response to the problems created when Tressel didn’t alert Ohio State to possible transgressions by his players.
Those troubles ultimately helped lead to the postseason ban the Buckeyes will deal with this season, a penalty that makes them ineligible for both the Big Ten championship game and a possible bowl appearance. But it won’t keep Meyer from earning bonus money if Ohio State would have qualified for those games.
Meyer is scheduled for a bonus of $50,000 for winning the Leaders Division, which he can still earn this season even though the Buckeyes can’t play for the conference championship. Similarly, his $100,000 bonus with the option for an additional year on his contract can be claimed if Ohio State finishes the regular season with the most conference wins.
For bowl games, Meyer will pick up the $150,000 tabbed for a BCS appearance if the Buckeyes finish between No. 3 and No. 10 in the final rankings -- or $250,000 if they would have gone to the national championship game at No. 1 or No. 2.
“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,” Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said in a statement released by the school. “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.”
Should Meyer deliver on those expectations, he’ll have the ability to extend a deal that on average would pay him more than $4 million during his six-year agreement.
But if more problems from Ohio State’s past happen to arise, Meyer also has a clause that would allow him to leave the program and collect $1.5 million for every year left on the contract.
“I am honored to be head coach at The Ohio State University,” Meyer said in a statement. “I understand and accept the tremendous responsibility to lead one of the most prestigious programs in college football history. It's great to be back home in the state of Ohio.
“I have made it my personal duty to ensure that the football program reflects and enhances our academic mission here at Ohio State, and our program goal is to always make the great state of Ohio proud.”