Ohio State released Urban Meyer's full contract on Monday, and it includes bonuses for reaching postseason benchmarks this season despite a bowl ban, and clauses that allow for the termination of the contract should Meyer commit or know about NCAA rules violations. Meyer can also get out of the contract and get paid a portion of what is owed if major new NCAA violations committed by Ohio State predating his arrival are unearthed.
The Cleveland Plain-Dealer's Doug Lesmerises does a good job of breaking down the details of the contract, which must be approved by Ohio State's Board of Trustees, in this story.
At Meyer's request, he can leave the job, and receive $1.5 million per year over the life of the six-year deal if more major NCAA violations are found. But athletic director Gene Smith told the Plain-Dealer he's confident that the Buckeyes won't have anything to worry about (though a cynic would point out that we've heard that before from Smith).
The contract also gives Ohio State some protection, saying the school could fire Meyer with cause if there is a "significant or repetitive or intentional violation" of NCAA rules by Meyer or anyone under his supervision -- including players -- that Meyer was aware of or "should have (in Ohio State's determination) reasonably known about." Call this the Jim Tressel Clause, as the former Ohio State coach was forced to resign after he didn't tell his superiors about NCAA violations he knew his players had committed.
Meyer can get a $50,000 for winning the Big Ten Leaders Division, including the 2012 season, even though the Buckeyes are banned from representing the division in the Big Ten championship game. Meyer will receive a $150,000 bonus for going to a BCS bowl and $250,000 for making the BCS championship game. According to the contract, 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.
Except there's one problem with that: Ohio State is ineligible to be ranked in the BCS standings because of its probation. The Buckeyes cannot be ranked in the USA Today coaches' or Harris polls because of their punishment. That's one clause that Meyer's representatives missed the boat on.
Worried about Meyer sticking around in Columbus? He's got financial incentive to do so. Along with a $250,000 signing bonus, he can get bumps in pay if he's still the coach in 2014, 2016 and 2018, for a total of $2.4 million in bonuses. That would bring the total value of his contract to $4.44 million per year over six years, making him the highest paid coach in the Big Ten.