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Loss to MSU costs Urban Meyer big money

The loss to Michigan State University on Saturday and getting bumped from the national championship game will cost Ohio State University head football coach Urban Meyer $350,000 in bonus payments, according to his contract.

Meyer’s six-year contract with OSU calls for a $250,000 payment if his team makes it to a national championship game and $100,000 bonus if the Buckeyes win the Big Ten championship game. Both of those options came to a halt for this season when the Spartans beat the Buckeyes 34-24 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, snapping Ohio State’s 24-game winning streak.

But don’t worry. The Meyer family will still be OK this holiday season.

Meyer is due $650,000 in bonus payments in coming months: a $450,000 retention payment, $50,000 for winning the Big Ten Leaders Division title and $150,000 check for a Bowl Championship Series game appearance. That’s all on top of his $4 million a year compensation package.

Meyer is one of the highest paid head coaches in college football.

His contract also provides for $14,400 a year automobile stipend, a golf club membership, 12 tickets and a suite for each home game, plus 50 hours of private jet travel for university business and 35 additional hours for personal use. Such perks are standard in coaching contracts among top-tier football programs.

Meyer also pockets bonuses based on the average grade point of his players: $50,000 for a 3.0 average, $100,000 for a 3.3 and $150,000 for a 3.5.

Meyer won two national championships as head coach at the University of Florida in 2006 and 2008 before Ohio State hired him in November 2011 to rebuild its storied football program.

OSU structured the contract to give Meyer reason to be loyal to Ohio State. In addition to the $450,000 retention payment due early next year, he will be paid $750,000 if he is still coach in January 2016 and $1.2 million if he remains through January 2018.

Ohio State’s athletics program is one of just six programs nationwide that is self-sustaining, in large part because football is a cash cow. So Meyer’s compensation comes out of money generated from the football program, not student tuition or fees.

Last fiscal year, the OSU athletics department transferred almost $30 million in surplus money to the university.

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