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Ohio State Board of Trustees could approve Urban Meyer’s revised contract Friday

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Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said Monday that first-year Buckeyes football coach Urban Meyer’s contract would be approved Friday by the Board of Trustees, and will include some new details.

“Term sheets” containing details regarding the agreed-upon terms of Meyer’s six-year, $24 million deal with the university were made public the night of his introduction as new coach on Nov. 29, and there are changes to the now-27 page document the Trustees will review on Friday.

Perhaps the most interesting new stipulation in Meyer’s revised contract is that the coach, despite overseeing a program that has been banned from all postseason play for the 2012 season, will be eligible for a bonus if the Buckeyes finish with the best record in the Big Ten’s Leaders Division.

In a recording from the athletic department The Lantern obtained, Smith called that portion of the contract “unique.”

“If this year – 2012 – the team is a division champion based upon wins and losses or is BCS eligible, then we provide (Meyer) with an opportunity to receive a bonus based upon that performance and hopefully we’re there.”

Meyer would stand to earn $50,000 for every Leaders Division championship during his OSU tenure, including in 2012. 

The revised contract also includes new stipulations regarding compliance and academic “stretch goals” for the football program.

“We wanted to make sure we were more definitive on how compliance issues will be handled, so you’ll see some more language in that area,” Smith said in the recording.

The football program’s academic performance will now be measured based on grade point average, as opposed to the Academic Performance Rate measuring system, Smith said.

The change will be made, Smith said, because of the football team’s “extremely strong” APR performance.

OSU announced Tuesday that the team earned a 2.88 grade point average during this past spring quarter – the highest team GPA in the last 10 marking periods for the program.

A 2.88 GPA won’t help Meyer achieve bonuses under his revised contract, though – a $50,000 bonus would kick-in only after the team achieves a 3.0 GPA. Meyer would also take in $100,000 and $150,000 bonuses should the team achieve a 3.3 or 3.5 GPA, respectively.

“We wanted some stretch goals in the academic area and GPA is one we needed to strengthen,” Smith said in the recording. 

A June 14 OSU release explaining the APR system said: “APR scores measure eligibility and retention each semester or quarter and provides a clear picture of the academic culture in each sport. The most recent APRs are multi-year rates based on scores from the 2007-08, 2008-09, 2009-10 and 2010-11 academic years.”

OSU football was recognized by the NCAA June 14 for having an APR score in the top 10 percent of the Football Bowl Subdivision. The Buckeyes men’s and women’s tennis and men’s and women’s volleyball team were also recognized by the NCAA for the same APR accomplishments.

Finally, Smith said that the 27-page document to be ratified by the Trustees includes a “claw back,” which would force Meyer to repay any bonuses earned after an NCAA violation occurs.

OSU spokesmen did not immediately respond to The Lantern‘s Monday request for comment regarding whether Meyer’s Dec. 16 self-reported secondary violation would be cause for the repayment of any bonuses.

During the December incident, Meyer said “good luck” to Noah Spence, then a prospective OSU student-athlete, prior to a Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association playoff game in Hershey, Pa.

Meyer said in a Monday statement that he understands the tremendous responsibility the comes with leading OSU football.

“I am honored to be head coach at The Ohio State University. I understand and accept the tremendous responsibility to lead one of the most prestigious programs in college football history.” Meyer said. “It’s great to be back home in the state of Ohio. I have made it my personal duty to ensure that the football program reflects and enhances our academic mission here at Ohio State, and our program goal is to always make the Great State of Ohio proud.”

Preparing for the end of the Bowl Championship Series?

Meyer’s contract includes language that would allow for bonuses tied to Bowl Championship Series to hold steady even if the BCS system is done away with.

Bonuses for winning the Big Ten Championship Game ($100,000), an appearance in a non-national championship BCS bowl game ($150,000) and an appearance in the National Championship Game ($250,000) each include a stipulation that allows for Meyer to still achieve the bonuses if the BCS system “no longer exists.”  

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