Jan. 3, 2007
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -If top-ranked Ohio State beats Florida to win the national championship on Monday night, coach Jim Tressel will likely get a lot richer.
Tressel's current contract specifies he can begin negotiations on a new agreement just six months after signing one that will pay him more than $2.6 million this season.
"Whether we win it or not, I'm going to sit back and say, 'Where are we? What have we accomplished?"' Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said Wednesday.
Smith said he will review Tressel's compensation package and compare it to coaches around the Big Ten and the nation while weighing Tressel's success on the field, his players' academic progress and other factors.
Tressel's seven-year contract, signed June 30, 2006, includes a $200,000 bonus for getting the Buckeyes into the national championship game.
The contract states that if Ohio State wins that game, "coach and university agree to begin negotiating, in good faith, the terms of a new employment agreement that would supersede this agreement."
Alabama reportedly outbid the Miami Dolphins on Wednesday to hire away coach Nick Saban, who was being paid $4.5 million per year.
Some think Saban's new contract might inflate coaches' salaries at major universities, much like a lucrative free-agent contract in baseball can raise the price for all players.
"I think the market has been extraordinary for a long time," Tressel said after the Buckeyes practiced on Wednesday. "Will this (Saban's contract) have any particular new bump on it? I doubt it."
Smith will compare Tressel's compensation package with other Big Ten coaches, then move on to other top coaches in the college game. But he drew a distinction between Tressel and Saban, who won a share of the 2003 national title while coaching at LSU.
"Jim Tressel is a proven coach in the Big Ten and nationally," Smith said. "That's a new coach at Alabama."
Tressel has a 62-13 record at Ohio State, including this year's 12-0 mark. He has a 5-1 record against the Buckeyes' chief rival, Michigan, and comes into the national championship game at the University of Phoenix Stadium with a 4-1 mark in bowl games.
Smith said he would compare Tressel's achievements with those of Oklahoma's Bob Stoops, Southern California's Pete Carroll, Notre Dame's Charlie Weis and Iowa's Kirk Ferentz, among others.
Saban's contract will have a lasting impression on coaches' contracts down the road, Smith said.
"I'm interested in seeing what that package is at Alabama, because four or five years from now it'll mean something," Smith said.