Ohio State football: Day gets $487,000 bonus; Meyer, Smith docked $631,219

Tim May
Ohio State Buckeyes acting head coach Ryan Day walks off the field after beating TCU Horned Frogs 40-28 at AT&T Stadium at Arlington, Texas on September 15, 2018. [Kyle Robertson]

Ryan Day is headed for major payday on Sept. 30 for his work as Ohio State’s acting head football coach during the three-game suspension of Urban Meyer.

Day’s haul, however, still is less than the financial penalties assessed to Meyer and OSU athletic director Gene Smith.

Day will have $487,000 added to his Sept. 30 paycheck, minus applicable tax withholdings, according to a letter of agreement forwarded to The Dispatch on Wednesday by the university. Day already is making $1 million this year as one of the team’s two offensive coordinators; that contract runs Feb. 1 through Jan. 31, 2019.

The combined financial hit for Meyer and Smith will be $631,218.84, according to other documents released by the university. Those are part of the terms of the suspensions handed down in the wake of investigation into their handling of domestic abuse allegations brought by Courtney Smith, the ex-wife of now fired receivers coach Zach Smith.

Meyer is scheduled to be docked identical amounts of $285,253.84 from each of his next two monthly paychecks, which usually are $412,033.33 each. The latter sum multiplied by 12 equals roughly $4.9 million of Meyer’s annual salary, which is $7.6 million this year. So evidently some aspects of his contract were not subject to penalty.

Smith’s penalty of $60,711.16 will be deducted only from his Sept. 30 paycheck, which usually is $119,582. He was scheduled to make $1.43 million this year.

The letters explaining the terms of their penalties were signed by OSU president Michael V. Drake.

As for Zach Smith, he received no severance package from the university in the wake of his firing July 23, as revealed in a letter to Zach Smith’s attorney dated Sept. 11 and signed by Julie Vannatta, senior associate general counsel for OSU athletics. The letter said Zach Smith was fired under the “for cause” provision of his contract which, if exercised, stipulates no compensation, according to Vannatta.

In Day’s case, he is gaining a bonus almost equal to half of the contract he agreed to over the winter when Meyer fought keep him on staff as Day was being courted by at least one college program as a head coach and by the NFL’s Tennessee Titans as offensive coordinator.

Day was named acting head coach on Aug. 3 when the university placed Meyer on paid administrative leave while it investigated his handling of the Zach Smith domestic situation with his ex-wife back in fall 2015 and how he handled press inquiries about the matter at the Big Ten media days in Chicago in July. On Aug. 22 Meyer was suspended without pay through Sept. 3. He was allowed to return to in-week coaching at that point but was suspended for games against Rutgers and Texas Christian. He returned to full-time coaching on Monday.

Day ran the team from Aug. 3 through Sept. 2 — all of training camp and the opener against Oregon State — and was in charge again for two more game days as the No. 4 Buckeyes opened 3-0.

For Day, 39, it was his first stint as a head coach. Day said he leaned heavily on defensive coordinator Greg Schiano, a former head at Rutgers and the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson, the former head coach at Indiana.

“I knew coach Day was a difference-maker when we hired him,” Meyer said earlier this week. “I followed his career (as an assistant at several colleges and in the NFL).

“His professionalism and what he’s done has been phenomenal. And the rest of our staff, with coach Schiano, Kevin Wilson, the other coaches, have been tremendous.”


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