Aug 6, 2012; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions head coach Bill O

Penn State Football - Bill O'Brien Contract Revised

What many speculated would happen in January during the fallout from the O’Brien to the NFL rumors finally became official on Thursday.  Penn State announced a series of amendments to the contract signed by BOB when he took the job just 17 months ago.  Here are the major points:

  • O’Brien’s total compensation in 2013 will be over $3.2 million.  That includes a base salary of $1.9+ million, along with Nike and and media appearance money.  This is up from about $2.3 million total in 2012. The total compensation drops to about $2.5 million in 2014, before increasing to around $3 million in 2015.
  • Another interesting note: O’Brien can earn up to a $200,000 bonus dependent on whatever bowl game PSU would have attended were the sanctions not in place.
  • As was well publicized, PSU tacked on an additional 4 years to the original contract signed by O’Brien when the sanctions were handed down.  While this gave O’Brien great job security, it also had the effect of creating a huge buy out.  Gone is that clause, replaced by new language that drops the buyout, should O’Brien leave for the NFL, to nearly $8 million after the 2013 season, but then down to roughly $3.5 million after 2014.
  • The extra years added on are now gone, but PSU has agreed to renegotiate in January of 2016.

The changes to the buyout clause will of course garner the most attention.  As many speculated back in January, that was likely the key point O’Brien and his representatives wished to address, and why not?  After a season much more impressive than the final 8-4 record would indicate, BOB had leverage to not only generate some change in the athletic department and football program, but also improve his personal position.  It’s no secret O’Brien aspires to coach in the NFL, calling it the top of his profession.  But he has also never said he is going to leave.  But if an opportunity presents itself, it was almost impossible financially for O’Brien to pursue it under his old deal.  He now has that opportunity, but almost certainly not before January of 2015.

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