Urban’s new contract feeds old rumors
In the midst of all the speculation that Urban Meyer will soon depart Florida for his “dream job” at Notre Dame, the Gators have given the two time national championship coach a raise. The new deal is worth $24 million over 6 years, but there’s another important number that keeps the Irish rumors alive.
What is most important to Notre Dame isn’t the annual earnings of Urban Meyer. The institution is a financial juggernaut capable of matching any coaches salary. The Domers have been forking out large sums of money to Charlie Weis for years, receiving dismal results in return. The $4 million now being served by Florida to Meyer hardly acts as a deterrent, and more importantly, the buyout leaves a door wide open.
His original contract stipulated “no buyout” if he left for Ohio State, Notre Dame, or Michigan, which left many unnerved with Irish rumors suddenly flying. To calm the natives, you would have to think that exceptions in the clause no longer exist, but the buyout total is only $500,000. That is the amount to be paid to Florida by Meyer for each year remaining in his six year deal, if and when he leaves the program.
A departure wouldn’t come before 2010, so by the numbers in his contract, acquiring Meyer to begin the ’10 season would cost the Irish $2.5 million in buyout, plus an annual salary of $4 million. In comparison, Rich Rodgriguez had a buyout clause that totaled $4 million at the time of his departure from West Virginia. Michigan hired the coach and paid a partial, with Rodriguez picking up the remainder.
On the surface, it looks like Meyer is set to coach the Gators for many years to come, but that was the same look given by Rodriguez at West Virginia and Saban at LSU. When you have a financial institution willing to pay top dollar for leadership, a coach referring to that institution as his “dream job”, and a new contract that poses an easy out, the probablity of a 2010 coaching switch still remains.
Meyer provided instant results in Utah and Florida, and Charlie Weis is at the end of his rope. If the Irish continue to underachieve in 2009, look for Notre Dame to actively pursue the Gator’s coach, despite the new contract.