STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Penn State could pay out millions of dollars in severance to a half dozen assistants who weren't retained by new coach Bill O'Brien.
Acting athletic director David Joyner said Friday the status of the assistant coaches who aren't coming back from former coach Joe Paterno's staff hasn't been finalized. Some may choose to retire, others could seek different jobs at Penn State or move on.
The severances for the full-time assistants were negotiated by Paterno when he signed a three-year contract extension in December 2008 to provide some financial security for his staff if he left his position as head coach, the athletic department said in a statement later Friday.
The total amount budgeted in the 2008 extension severance for all nine assistants was $4.4 million, though the final figure will likely be lower given two assistants -- defensive line coach Larry Johnson and linebackers coach Ron Vanderlinden -- have been retained by O'Brien.
Also, a third assistant, receivers coach Mike McQueary, remains on administrative leave. He's a key prosecution witness against retired assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, who is out on bail and awaiting trial after being charged with dozens of child sex abuse counts on Nov. 5. Paterno was fired four days later.
Speaking before Penn State's Board of Trustees on Friday morning, Joyner said the severance payout will contribute to a projected net budget loss of $5 million for the upcoming year. Athletics had budgeted for the loss this year given it was the last year of Paterno's contract, and he had not signed another extension, the department said.
Paterno is not part of the severance total. He had announced he was retiring effective the end of the 2011 season on the morning of Nov. 9 before trustees ousted him about 12 hours later.
In recent weeks, trustees have said they intend to honor his contract as if he did retire at the end of 2011. Paterno also retains tenured faculty status.