Penn State amends terms of O'Brien's contract

FILE - In this April 20, 2013, file photo, Penn State head coach Bill O'Brien answers questions during a news conference following their spring NCAA college football scrimmage in State College, Pa. Penn State has 67 scholarship football players on its roster and O'Brien said Wednesday, May 8, that he sees no reason why that will change significantly by the time the season starts on Aug. 31. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)

Penn State head coach Bill O’Brien has agreed to the amending of certain terms in his contract that provide him with a major salary bump for the upcoming second year of the deal, plus new terms for incentive bonuses and buyout provisions, the university announced Thursday.

The changes include a boost in salary for the contract year beginning July 1 to $1,932,779, an increase of more than double his first-year base pay of $950,000. The university will pay him $935,279 of that figure in one lump-sum payment within three days after “the execution and delivery of this contract,” the contract said.

O’Brien’s base pay will be $1,137,096 in the year that begins July 1, 2014, and $1,650,994 in the year commencing on July 1, 2015. A five percent hike for July 1, 2016 would boost his base to $1,733,544. O’Brien signed a five-year contract on Jan. 6, 2012.

Another new provision covers O’Brien’s buyout if he is to take another job, which differentiates if the job is with an NFL team or another college team.

Should O’Brien take an NFL job, he would have to pay back just his base salary for each year over the remainder of the contract. However, if he were to go to another college, he would have to pay an additional $1.35 million – $1 million for radio, TV and public appearances, $350,000 shoe and apparel contract with Nike – for every year of the contract.

The amendments to the original contract also address the sanctions that the NCAA imposed last July, especially the performance incentives that O’Brien was to receive for leading Penn State to the Big Ten championship game, a bowl or the BCS championship game, all of which are not available to the Nittany Lions through 2016.

The new plan allows Penn State to pay O’Brien up to $200,000 annually in incentives that it estimates he would have earned without sanctions based on the Nittany Lions’ record as compared to other Big Ten teams as well as what the deal called “estimated chances of success and other relevant factors.”

O’Brien’s original contract allowed the addition of one year for every year of NCAA sanctions but an amendment of that stipulation allows for O’Brien and the university to begin talking of an extension beginning on Jan. 1, 2016, one year before the original deal expires.

Another provision is that O’Brien will have increased use of Penn State’s aircraft for recruiting or other university business, and that the university would charter a private jet for trips of more than two hours. He will have use of the jet for 85 hours a year for business, and 35 hours for personal use.

The new deal also calls for O’Brien to receive a retrofitted van to accommodate his special needs son, Jack, who has a brain disorder known as lissencephaly.

Athletic director Dave Joyner said the new provisions were added to honor O’Brien’s “tremendous job with all facets of the Penn State football program,” one of which was an 8-4 record.

“This rightly recognizes Bill’s outstanding achievements in guiding our student athletes on and off the field,” Joyner said in a statement.

University president Rodney Erickson said in the statement that he and Joyner talked about revising O’Brien’s contract at the end of the 2012 season, “and these discussions moved forward with my blessing and involvement.”

--Joe Juliano