Good morning Buckeye Nation, as well as anyone else who struggles to stomach Wisconsin’s Bret Bielema. If you fit into either category, welcome to the Empire. You’re amongst friends.
First and foremost I want to extend a giant welcome to a good friend of mine, Chris Holloway, who officially became part of the Buckeye Empire team as a Lead Writer and Editor with Monday morning’s Victory Bell. I look forward to working shoulder-to-shoulder with Chris in everything we decide to get into here at the Empire. Together I think we’ll make a pretty decent duo – but he and I aren’t finished adding to the Empire stable of talent. We’ve already had a few experienced folks inquire about potentially joining the squad and are presently working on how exactly we want to lay out our tiny little org chart. Heads up.
Alright, enough of the double back-slap, chest bumping bro hugs.
Sit there, be quiet, and just sign my checks, Eugene
Ohio State released Urban Meyer’s full contract on Monday (read it in all its glory here, courtesy of 11W) and there were a few points that stuck out immediately to me. First, Meyer is set to receive additional bonus money if he wins the B1G Leaders division ($50,000), wins the B1G Championship Game ($100,000), makes a BCS appearance ($150,000) or wins the BCS National Championship ($250,000). Given the current NCAA sanctions, none of the above are possible until 2013 so the university has made provisions to open those bonuses up for this season.
If Ohio State achieves the best record in the Leaders division Meter will receive the $50k bonus. If the Buckeyes finish with the best or tied for the best record in the B1G conference he’ll receive the conference championship bonus of $100k. To earn the $150k BCS appearance bonus Ohio State must finish ranked somewhere between third and tenth in the final BCS standings released in January. And Meyer can earn the $250k national title bonus by finishing either first or second in the final BCS standings.
“Straight cash, Homey.”
After a number of decisions and statements made by Athletics Director Gene Smith that seem to go against logic, this decision seems quite logical. Meyer took the Ohio State job knowing further sanctions may be coming even though Smith assured him the program had likely received all the penalties they would receive. To now put him in a position to earn bonuses for certain achievements that wouldn’t otherwise be awarded is a great decision by Smith and the university. Of course, in typical Gene fashion, he couldn’t leave well enough alone.
According to the Plain Dealer, Meyer’s attorney asked for a provision to be included stating that if new violations came to light regarding the football program, violations occurring before Meyer was hired, that he would have an out clause worth $1.5 million for each year remaining on his contract. Fair enough. Geno’s response?
“We’re very confident we have no issues,” Smith said, according to the Plain Dealer. “We scrubbed everything very hard, so when his attorneys asked for that, we felt comfortable doing that.”
Fantastic! More positive outlook from the man himself. The last time Smith went on record with such a statement we were weeks from taking our 6-7 talent to the Gator Bowl before being banned from further bowl participation in 2012. I’m almost certain Gene also called the Titanic, “quite stable” at some point in 1912.
We may go a little deeper into Urb’s contract later this week, but one other important item stuck out as I glanced through releases, quotes and the contract itself last night. There are actually provisions within Meyer’s contract that earn him bonuses based on the academic achievements of the players on his team. This could very well be the best part of the super-rich contract from the general fan’s standpoint.
Last year’s team earned a collective 2.8 grade point average (GPA). Meyer’s new contract states that he receives a $50,000 bonus if the team earns a cumulative 3.0 GPA; $100,000 for a cumulative 3.3 GPA; and $150,000 for a 3.5 average. This is music to Buckeye Nation’s ears as the pride in The Ohio State University continues to be built back up after a year or two of turmoil.
There was a definite sense of appreciation from the fans last month when it was announced that 44 different football players earned a 3.0 GPA or higher for the Spring semester, including all six student-athletes who enrolled early in January as freshmen. It’s obvious Urban has put a distinct focus on academics and the program is already seeing the benefits.
By the way, if all the dollar signs in the contract make your eyes bug out as an Ohio tax-payer, be thankful you’re helping to pay the contract of Urban Meyer and not Chip Kelly – like me.
Paying it Forward
There isn’t much we hear about the Ohio State synchronized swimming team, except of course when they win yet another US Collegiate Championship (twenty-eight of the thirty-six in the sport’s history, including the last four). But if you happen by Ohio State’s official athletics website this morning you’ll see that the team is earning kudos for efforts that are equally as impressive as those in the pool.
For all we hear about the Ohio State football and men’s basketball teams, plenty of work gets done around campus, the WHAC and the community by the rest of the athletics department. The synchronized swimming team, fresh off a national championship earned back in mid-March, completed a collective 567 hours of community service this season. FIVE. HUNDRED. AND. SIXTY. SEVEN. That’s a mind-blowing number in and of itself, but even greater is that they weren’t served raking leaves and painting fire hydrants.
Thirty different community services saw the team’s efforts reap rewards. As you scroll through the list you would see it would be very difficult for anyone to read the list and not know someone who has been affected by one of those programs. The team reached out to programs such as The Ronald McDonald House, Walk Now for Autism Speaks, Mid-Ohio Foodbank, Marines Toys for Tots Foundation and the Salvation Army Adopt-a-Family program, as well as many others.
In a time when we spend our free hours picking apart million-dollar contracts (see above) or breaking down academic fraud investigations (see Chapel Hill, North Carolina) it’s wonderful to see that these student-athletes are dedicating their personal time to well-deserving community programs.
Impressive, ladies, to say the least. Thank you.
I want to extend a warm welcome to Jenn, yet another new teammate added to the Empire roster yesterday. She received her freshly laminated Club Card that gives her access to the entire tree house and then promptly put pen to paper in detailing exactly what the female Buckeyes fans of the world stand for, which ironically also explains reason #14,767,319 that I love Buckeye Nation.
And finally, if you don’t remember one thing from this post the rest of the day, remember this: It’s never, EVER a ‘good day to be a Badger.’ Not ever. Never.