A Look At the Urban Meyer Contract


Last week rumors began to flood the Internet about Urban Meyer signing on as the next head football coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes.  Sources had allegedly told WKMG-TV in Orlando that Ohio State had offered Meyer a mammoth deal worth $40 million over seven years.[1] Meyer steadfastly denied these reports, intimating that he was not offered any job and that he would be spending Thanksgiving with his family.[2]

The timing of the report was peculiar.  There had not yet been any imminent reports concerning the termination of Luke Fickell, the head coach of the Buckeyes for the 2011 season.  Additionally, these rumors were coming out on the eve of Ohio State’s matchup against perennial bitter rival Michigan.

Nevertheless, earlier this week following the Buckeyes’ loss to the Wolverines, Ohio State has officially announced Urban Meyer as their next head football coach.[3] The deal is reportedly a six-year deal worth at least $26 million.[4] The document that has been circulating the Internet, which can be seen here, is not the full formal contract but will represent the basis for the formal agreement between the parties.[5] The agreement contains basic information one would expect; Term (November 28, 2011-January 31, 2018), and Compensation ($4 million per year base salary).[6]

The base salary for the first year is allocated as follows: $700,000 for base compensation, $1.85 million for “media, promotions and public relations”, $1.4 million for “apparel/shoe/equipment, $40,000 for “Retirement Contribution
Payment”, and $10,000 for Coca-Cola appearance payment.[7] This breakdown shows how important it is to the university for the coach to be a public relations figure and university ambassador, versus their actual coaching.  The agreement also includes obvious bonuses for achievements such as championships, graduation success rate (GSR), and BCS bowl game appearances.[8]

The agreement also includes some less traditional clauses, the variety of which are some of the perks that go with being a highly touted college football coach for a major college football institution.  For instance section 6 read: “Ohio State shall provide Coach a full golf membership at a mutually-agree upon golf course.  Ohio State shall pay the monthly dues, but Coach shall pay his personal expenses associated with such membership.”[9] Additionally, section 8 states that Ohio State will fly Meyer via private aircraft when he is making recruiting trips as well as other mutually-agreed upon university business.[10] He will also get a monthly $1,200 stipend to cover the costs for two cars.

Needless to say, Meyer was clearly a highly coveted individual for Ohio State.  Despite Meyer’s dramatic exit from Florida, he was undeniably successful, is likeable and carries no baggage in the form of NCAA violations.  The signing of Meyer should be a win-win for both sides.  For Meyer, the financial incentives are obvious.  For Ohio State, they get a clean start with a big name coach who will prevent a drop-off in recruiting.

[1] ESPN.com news services, Urban Meyer: No Buckeyes Deal, ESPN (November 24, 2011, 10:27 AM), http://espn.go.com/college-football/story/_/id/7272658/urban-meyer-denies-report-new-ohio-state-buckeyes-coach.

[2] Id.

[3] Greg Bishop, For New Coach at Ohio State, It’s First Down and $4 Million, NEW YORK TIMES (November 28, 2011), http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/29/sports/ncaafootball/for-new-coach-at-ohio-state-its-first-down-and-4-million.html?scp=2&sq=urban%20meyer&st=cse.

[4] Id.

[5] Urban Meyer’s Ohio State Football Contract, NEW YORK TIMES (November 28, 2011), http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/11/28/sports/ncaafootball/urbanmeyer-documents.html?scp=5&sq=urban%20meyer&st=cse.

[6] Id.

[7] Id.

[8] Id.

[9] Id.

[10] Id.

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