Automatic extension for Bill O'Brien

Updated: July 26, 2012, 8:44 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

Bill O'Brien's contract with Penn State automatically was extended four years through 2020 when the NCAA handed down unprecedented sanctions against the embattled football program.

A clause in the contract, obtained Wednesday by ESPN's Joe Schad, was triggered when Penn State received its four-year bowl ban as part of the sanctions announced Monday in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.

Any sanction by the NCAA of a) loss of scholarships or b) bowl eligibility due to the actions of the previous staff or lack of institutional control prior to 2012 will immediately result in an automatic extension of coach's contract at 2016 total compensation and bonus package in years equal to the number of years of the sanctions.

-- Addendum to Penn State coach
Bill O'Brien's contract

O'Brien was asked on several ESPN platforms Wednesday about escaping his contract, but instead reiterated his commitment to the school and noted he had a clause to add more years if penalties were issued.

O'Brien will receive 2016 compensation in 2017-20 per the terms of an addendum to the agreement, which he and acting athletic director Dave Joyner both signed.

"Any sanction by the NCAA of a) loss of scholarships or b) bowl eligibility due to the actions of the previous staff or lack of institutional control prior to 2012 will immediately result in an automatic extension of coach's contract at 2016 total compensation and bonus package in years equal to the number of years of the sanctions," the addendum said.

O'Brien signed the deal Jan. 6 when he was named the successor to Joe Paterno, who was fired in the aftermath of the child sex abuse charges against Sandusky. Penn State then had said O'Brien's base salary started at $950,000, with a 5 percent increase each season.

As part of the NCAA's sanctions, Penn State was hit with a $60 million fine and was forced to vacate all of Paterno's wins dating to 1998. The school also must reduce 10 initial and 20 total scholarships each year over a four-year period.

O'Brien joined Penn State after spending nearly five years as an assistant with the NFL's New England Patriots, including this past season as their offensive coordinator. He has not openly complained about the sanctions, referring to himself as "a fighter."

O'Brien also has made a concerted effort over the past two days to convince Penn State's current players to stay at the school rather than transfer to a different program. The NCAA's penalties allow current players to transfer immediately without restrictions.

ESPN's Joe Schad and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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