Ohio State is working on a two-year contract extension with football coach Urban Meyer that would run through 2022.
Meyer divulged the extension Wednesday during his national signing day news conference to discuss Ohio State’s banner 2018 recruiting class.
“We’re going to sign an extension here soon,” Meyer said. “The university has been good enough to extend something to me.”
Athletic director Gene Smith said he broached the extension with Meyer around the time of the Cotton Bowl and got permission from Ohio State president Michael V. Drake to proceed. Smith said he hopes an agreement will be finalized and approved by the university’s board of trustees in April.
The impetus for the extension was largely driven by recruiting concerns. When Ohio State lost out on five-star Fairfield offensive tackle Jackson Carman during the early-signing period, one factor in his decision to sign with Clemson was Tigers coach Dabo Swinney’s claim that Meyer was on the back end of his coaching career.
“I heard the rumors about him leaving or retiring,” Smith said. “It happens all the time. I see that stuff, too. I’ve been doing this a long enough time.
“He’s got three years left (on his current contract). It probably hurts in recruiting. I brought it to him and said we need to talk about an extension in order to alleviate some of those concerns. I know how healthy he is and how excited he is to be here. So we just need to deal with that. I got approval from the president to move forward.”
Meyer said he has never indicated that he’s close to stepping down.
“I don’t know where that’s coming from,” he said. “That’s never come from me.
“I feel great. For someone to bring that up in recruiting, that’s easy to fight against because it’s not true. I don’t know how many more years (I’m) going to coach and all that. (But) I feel fantastic. The program’s healthy and we’re going (great), and I’m going to get some more years put on my contract.”
Smith did not reveal how much the extension would be worth, but he won’t be the highest-paid coach in the country. Meyer made $6.43 million in 2017.
Alabama’s Nick Saban will make $11.25 million in 2018. Texas A&M signed Jimbo Fisher to a 10-year, $75 million contract.
Asked if Meyer’s salary would be in that range, Smith said, “No.”
Smith said that the OSU assistant coaches would be in line for raises as well and their contracts are expected to be settled by next week.
Assistant coaches’ salaries at top programs nationally have spiked in the last few months, with several making more $1 million. Smith said an OSU assistant would top that threshold for the first time, but declined to specify which one.