Six months after announcing its hiring of Urban Meyer as the next head football coach, Ohio State released the details of Meyer's contract. It's, as expected, lucrative—and the benefits for Urban Meyer go far past even the money itself.
As College Football Talk noted, Meyer will indeed be making about $4.4 million a year, putting him behind only Nick Saban and Mack Brown in coaching salary in college football. The contract lasts for six years, and retention bonuses will be triggered in 2014, 2016 and 2018.
Ohio State's biggest display of confidence in the contract, however, deals less with Meyer and more with its past. As the Plain Dealer reports, one key clause of the Meyer contract lets him walk away with a $1.5 million paycheck per year at the drop of a hat—or, more appropriately, the drop of another Jim Tressel-era NCAA violation:
Meyer's attorneys also asked for, and received from Ohio State, an out clause that allows Meyer to leave the job, and get $1.5 million per year for the remaining years of his deal, if more major NCAA violations from the past come out against the Buckeyes' football program.
Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith told The Plain Dealer on Monday that he had no problem with that clause, because he is confident no other NCAA issues are lurking.
"We're very confident we have no issues," Smith said of the NCAA caveat. "We scrubbed everything very hard, so when his attorneys asked for that, we felt comfortable doing that."
So, that's not definitive proof that there aren't any more NCAA skeletons in Ohio State's closet... but it is a multimillion-dollar bet by the Buckeyes that they're clean. And every good gambler knows you never make a bet unless you already know the outcome.
And still, Ohio State's contract doesn't skimp on benefits or bonuses for Meyer, even when it technically could. For example, there are standard boosts for winning division titles or making certain bowl games, but Ohio State's ineligible for postseason play in 2012, so those are off the board, no?
Well, actually, "no" is correct; Ohio State has set up guidelines that Meyer can still meet in the regular season to hit those bonuses in 2012 as well. It makes sense, since the Ohio State ineligibility isn't Meyer's doing or anything, but it's still nice to see a good-faith effort in contract negotiation like that.
It's right up there with Teddy Chaough's counter offer to Peggy and oh god I'm talking Mad Men again. Sorry.
Ohio State fans: You've got to be feeling pretty good about this contract, yeah?