Inside Bill O'Brien's Penn State contract

February, 14, 2012
2/14/12
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Penn State is making an attempt to be more open and transparent after all the controversy last fall. That initiative includes the release of new coach Bill O'Brien's contract.

Because it is not subject to the same state open records laws as most public universities, the school didn't have to disclose details of coaches' contracts in the past. But on a university web site called openness.psu.edu, the Nittany Lions are releasing several contracts and agreements. A PDF of O'Brien's contract can be found here.

O'Brien's five-year deal calls for a base salary beginning at $950,000 in 2012 and increasing by five percent each year. He'll also receive $1 million per year for radio and TV obligations and $350,000 per year from a Nike deal, bringing his total compensation to $2.3 million in Year One. That figure would make O'Brien the Big Ten's sixth highest-paid coach, behind Ohio State's Urban Meyer, Iowa's Kirk Ferentz, Michigan's Brady Hoke, Nebraska's Bo Pelini and Wisconsin's Bret Bielema.

O'Brien can also earn up to $200,000 per year in incentives, including a potential $104,500 bonus if the Nittany Lions make a bowl game next season. O'Brien would make $47,500 for a division title, $76,000 for a Big Ten championship and $85,500 for a BCS national championship in the 2012 season. There are no incentives in the contract for academic achievements, such as graduation rates.

At the end of O'Brien's fourth year as head coach, Penn State can decide to extend his contract by up to three years. If O'Brien were to leave before the contract expires, he would owe Penn State a buyout of his base salary and additional compensation at the time of his resignation, multiplied by the number of years left on his deal.

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