CFN ANALYSIS - Urban Meyer's New Contract
Florida head coach Urban Meyer
Florida's Urban Meyer has agreed to a six-year, $24 million deal, but does that mean he'll be in Gainesville for the next several years? Does this mean all talk about Meyer going to the NFL or Notre Dame is over? Pete Fiutak doesn't think so.
Urban Meyers Gets New Contract
Meyer gets a $24 million deal, but what does it mean?
Florida's president, Bernie Machen, had
been talking for a while about wanting to make sure his star
coaches, football head man Urban Meyer and basketball's Billy
Donovan, were locked up tight and were paid as well as any coach
in their respective sports. While he made sure his coaches got
their paper, that doesn't necessarily mean either is staying
The knee-jerk reaction by most to the new six-year,
$24 million dollar deal that Meyer just signed is that he's
living in Gainesville until 2015, at the least. While he's now
the highest paid head coach in the SEC, the $4 million a year
he'll make doesn't bring any more stability, and the salary
could be par for the course for the SEC in a few years. The new
deal still puts him third behind USC's Pete Carroll and Notre
Dame's Charlie Weis (and possibly fourth behind Oklahoma's Bob
Stoops, depending on bonuses).
Meyer couldn't be more
emphatic about how he has no interest in leaving Florida and
about how he has absolutely no desire to go to Notre Dame. At
least, he doesn't want to go to South Bend right now. It might
not be an option, anyway, considering Weis has a solid team and
an easy enough schedule to come up with a big year to keep him
around, but that doesn't mean the NFL might not make a push for
Meyer at some point if Notre Dame doesn't decide to change
Ah, yes. Notre Dame.
If you're thinking
the new contract ends any and all speculation and discussion
about Meyer ever wanting to go to his dream school, Notre Dame,
there are a mere 500,000 reasons why you'd be wrong.
buyout on Meyer's new contract at Florida is just $500,000. In
the real world, especially in an economy when the University of
Florida is cutting and slashing its budget left and right,
chopping off over $40 million this year alone, a half a mildo
isn't anything to sneeze at. In the silly world of big-time
athletics, especially to a place like Notre Dame, $500,000 to
bring in a coach with Meyer's stature and résumé is a pittance.
Notre Dame has an endowment of over $6 billion, ranking
in the top 15 of all universities, and is a profitable business
as well as an institution of higher learning. If the Irish ever
decided to throw whatever money it would take to get Meyer, and
the football product became national title-caliber again, that
NBC deal that goes through 2015 would quickly increase from the
$9 million a year it's currently at. That's not to mention that
Notre Dame gets to keep all of its BCS money (it doesn't have to
split the pie with members of a conference) and other revenue
streams would quickly increase (jersey sales, Irish
paraphernalia, etc.). In other words, Meyer would pay for
himself several times over.
$500,000?! Notre Dame doesn't
get out of bed for $500,000. But that's not the issue, and
salary isn't the issue.
Yes, getting $4 million a year
is nice no matter what, but it's not like Meyer needed more
money to stay at Florida. Of course there's a pride thing
involved, but after making well over $17 million in the last
five years he doesn't need to secure a fifth generation of the
Meyer family for life, the cost of living in Gainesville hasn't
gone up by that much, and it's not like he has to worry about
losing his job any time soon. It's about Florida acknowledging
that Meyer is an elite head coach and giving him his just due
respect, it's about Florida doing everything possible to keep
its star coach, and it's about ego.
Always remember one
thing about coaches above all else: they're not normal. It takes
a different breed of cat to have the makeup to be a big-time
football coach, and while money plays into the equation at some
point, when it comes to someone like Meyer, salary is merely a
number for him to measure himself against the other coaching
Coaches are never happy where they're at and
they're always looking for the next challenge, the next mountain
to climb, and to get the most respect possible. Meyer might be
acknowledged as one of the great college coaches in recent
history, and will be on the short list of all-timers if he can
win a few more national titles, but he's still a college coach.
Football coaches all have the itch to become the best of the
best and get the respect of their peers, and to do that it
requires a move to the NFL. Meyer might be great, but he's not
revered like Bill Belichick is. If Gainesville couldn't keep
Steve Spurrier from jumping to the pros, it's certainly not
going to be able to keep down a 45-year-old Meyer who has
already done it all at the collegiate level.
For now, be
happy, Gator fans. Your school did everything it could to keep
Meyer in place. The recruits will see this and think there's
some level of stability, when Meyer says he plans on sticking
around it'll have more weight, and it proves that your football
program is as big-time as they come. But be warned, just because
Meyer is getting a few more dollars his way for now, that
doesn't mean he's yours to keep.