Bill O'Brien earned several coach of the year awards during his first season at Penn State. The Nittany Lions' 8-4 campaign also earned him a healthy increase in compensation.
O'Brien's base salary for this season will be more than double that of his initial campaign.
Penn State announced Thursday the amended terms of O'Brien's contract, which include a substantial bump in pay for the 2013-14 year (beginning July 1), and other future increases, plus an adjusted bonus package that accounts for the postseason bans that will affect the program until 2016. However, it could mean he won't be under contract for as long as once thought.
O'Brien signed a five-year deal in January 2012 that included a base salary of $950,000 (not including radio or television appearances or compensation from the school's contract with Nike) that was to increase by five percent each year. The amended deal, however, will push that salary to $1,932,779 for the 2013-14 year. O'Brien is then set to be paid a base salary of $1,137,096 in 2014-15 and $1,650,994 for 2015-16. The base salary increase will then return to a yearly five percent increase for each year after.
The original deal allowed for O'Brien to be paid a maximum of $200,000 each year in performance incentives, including winning the Big Ten Division and championship game and reaching a bowl game. That was written seven months before the NCAA sanctions banned Penn State from postseason play and conference championship contention, though, so the amended version allows O'Brien to receive up to $200,000 as "supplemental compensation" that "the University estimates the Coach might have earned had sanctions not been imposed, taking into consideration the team's record, records of other teams in the Conference, estimated chances of success and other relevant factors."
The deal also said the university will purchase a van retrofitted for a special needs passenger for O'Brien, whose son Jack suffers from a rare neurological disorder. The original contract said such a van would be an "option" for the coach.
The amended deal also allows for up to 85 hours per calendar year of use of a private jet for "recruiting and other mutually agreed upon University business use," -- provided the flight is more than two hours from State College -- with no more than 35 hours of that time being allotted for the coach's "personal use."
The initial contract had also allowed for an automatic extension if Penn State was hit with sanctions, as outlined by the following graph:
"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 amended version of O'Brien's contract, though, in the section entitled "Extension," states:
"On or about January 6, 2016, the University will begin reviewing Coach's performance and by mutual agreement, the parties can extend the term of this Contract for an additional term of one, two or three years on the terms and conditions set forth herein."
Should O'Brien, who recently replaced agent Joe Linta with Neil Cornrich, decide to leave Penn State for the NFL before the final year of his contract, he (or, more specifically, the NFL team that hires him) will be responsible for paying the base salary for the current year times the number of years remaining in the contract. If he voluntarily leaves for any other reason (as the terms of the previous deal dictated) he will have to pay base salary plus additional compensation set forth in the amended contract multiplied by the number of years remaining in the deal.
"In the face of great adversity, Bill did a tremendous job with all facets of the Penn State football program," Penn State athletic director Dave Joyner said in a statement. "This rightly recognizes Bill's outstanding achievements in guiding our student-athletes on and off the field."