Ohio State coach Thad Matta has already cashed in on the Buckeyes’ trip to the Final Four.
So have the rest of the coaches whose teams are headed to New Orleans.
Matta has racked up $100,000 in incentives tied to his team’s performance in the Big Ten and NCAA tournament this season. And that doesn’t include the one-year extension that was triggered when the Buckeyes beat Michigan State for a share of the conference regular-season title.
Kansas coach Bill Self, whose team plays Ohio State on Saturday night, and John Calipari of Kentucky and Rick Pitino of Louisville are already racking up similar bonus packages, according to a review of their contracts by The Associated Press.
“It’s a heavyweight group, no question about that,” Self said Tuesday, referring to the quartet of coaches and their schools.
They’re getting paid like heavyweights, too.
Self signed a contract extension that runs from April 2008 through the 2017-18 season and guarantees an annual salary of $2.5 million. But it’s the bonus provisions that could turn an already princely sum into a greater financial windfall.
By winning the school’s eighth consecutive Big 12 title during the regular season, Self earned a $50,000 performance bonus. And when his team pulled away late to beat North Carolina in the Midwest Regional finals Sunday, Self guaranteed himself another $100,000.
If the Jayhawks can get by Ohio State, a team they have beaten once already this season, and then win their second national championship in five years, Self will take another $200,000 to the bank.
The potential of $350,000 in incentives pales in comparison, though, to what could await Calipari.
Despite making $3.8 million — an annual guaranteed package that gets a $1 million retention bump starting next season — officials at Kentucky still managed to sweeten the pot by factoring in hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of bonuses tied to on-court success.
Calipari already has earned an extra $50,000 for capturing the Southeastern Conference regular-season title, $100,000 each for making the regional semifinals and finals and $150,000 for beating Baylor and taking the Wildcats back to the Final Four. Winning the basketball-mad school’s eighth NCAA tournament title would net another $350,000.
Incidentally, the bonus tied to Kentucky’s academic progress rate? A mere $50,000.
“What John Calipari has done on and off the court ... to reunite and rejuvenate this fan base has been magical,” Kentucky athletic director Mitch Barnhart said last June, which he announced that Calipari’s contract had been restructured.
Calipari’s counterpart in the Bluegrass State is making out well, too.
Pitino is making $3 million this season and next season under an extension that took effect in July 2010, and that includes a bump in annual compensation to $3.9 million starting in 2013.
He also receives cumulative bonuses for on-court success: $50,000 for winning the Big East tournament title, another $50,000 for making the regional semifinals and finals, and $75,000 when the Cardinals knocked off Florida to book their trip to the Superdome.
Pitino will cash another $150,000 check if Louisville cuts down the nets Monday night.
Then there is Matta, whose total package this season — base salary, media responsibilities, deferred compensation, retention bonuses, retirement and endorsements — totals $2,735,000.
The Ohio State coach already has accrued $20,000 for a Big Ten co-championship and $40,000 for making the NCAA tournament. He earned another $20,000 for making the regional finals and $20,000 more when the Buckeyes beat top-seeded Syracuse for a spot in the Final Four.
That’s a total of $100,000 in bonuses so far, and Matta would double it if the Buckeyes win two more games for the school’s first national title since 1960.
That’s the cost of doing business in major college athletics.
Or, more accurately, the cost of success in major college basketball.