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Football: Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer to receive contract extension through 2022-23

Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer speaks to the media on Dec. 28 prior to the 2017 Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo Editor

Urban Meyer has spent the past six seasons as Ohio State’s head coach and the university plans to have him lead the Buckeyes at least five more seasons.

With Meyer’s contract set to expire in three years, Athletic Director Gene Smith sat down with the coach after the Cotton Bowl and discussed an extension. At a press conference Wednesday morning, Smith said Ohio State will add two seasons to Meyer’s contract to extend it through the 2022-23 season, when Meyer will be 58 years old. Smith did not specify how much Meyer would make with the extension.

“We’re going to sign an extension here soon because the university has been good enough to extend something to me,” Meyer said.

Smith made a recommendation to President Michael Drake that Meyer’s contract be extended, a motion Drake supported for Smith to pursue. Smith will present the Board with the extension in April.

Smith said it is typical for coaches to receive extensions once their contracts have three or less years remaining, regardless of the sport.

“But once we got south of that four years, it’s typical, I don’t care where you are, for that issue to come up about ‘He’s not going to be there when [a recruit is] a senior,’” Smith said. “It’s simple. That’s the way it’s always been. So yes, when that came up, I knew it was going to come up, it was just a matter of getting it done.”

Smith said Meyer needed the extension so his remaining years are not used against him on the recruiting trail. Five-star offensive tackle prospect and Clemson signee Jackson Carman said Tiger head coach Dabo Swinney said Meyer is on the back end of his career.

“He’s got three years left and it probably hurts in recruiting, so we need to sit and I brought it to him and said, ‘Hey, we need to talk about an extension in order to alleviate some of those concerns,” Smith said. “I know how healthy he is, how excited he is to be here. So, we just need to deal with that.”

Meyer made $6.4 million in base salary last season. Smith said Meyer’s extension will not be in the range of Alabama’s Nick Saban, who made $11,132,000 last season, and Jimbo Fisher, who signed a 10-year, $75-million contract with Texas A&M.

At a Board of Trustees’ Talent and Compensation meeting on Thursday, Smith called Alabama’s coaching salaries a “reactionary type of management” and said Fisher’s contract is “so ridiculous.” He also said he disregards outliers, such as Saban’s and Fisher’s contracts because they are outliers. On Wednesday, he said he did not believe in 10-year contracts.

Meyer has compiled a 73-9 record in his six seasons as Ohio State’s head coach. The Buckeyes went 12-2 last year and finished the season with a victory against USC in the Cotton Bowl.

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