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Tressel could get more than $2 million in account



Published: Sat, January 29, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The first payment to the championship account is due Monday.

COLUMBUS (AP) -- As the NCAA investigates alleged improprieties in the Ohio State football program, the university is making the first payment to an account that could give an additional $2.2 million to coach Jim Tressel.

Under terms of a contract signed six months after Ohio State won the 2002 national championship, the university must put $200,000 into Tressel's deferred compensation account by Monday. That amount is the smallest of what could be eight payments to the account.

The account is separate from his salary, which totals more than $1.2 million a year.

An Associated Press survey of Ohio State coaches' contracts shows that Tressel's agreement is unique. Deferred compensation clauses, however, have become staples in the contracts of professional athletes and college and professional coaches in recent years.

Tressel, in Cleveland on Friday where his wife was having surgery, said the payment was not on his mind.

"I really didn't have the day circled," Tressel said through a university spokesman. "I wasn't aware of that. It was just part of the contract."

Improper conduct

The NCAA and Ohio State are looking into charges made by former tailback Maurice Clarett and several other players that football players received money from boosters, got academic credit for work they didn't do and received no-show jobs at high salaries.

Ohio State athletic director Andy Geiger said this week that first-year men's basketball coach Thad Matta, who has yet to reach a final contract with the university, will have a similar account.

"It certainly wasn't difficult to accomplish," Geiger said of the negotiation with his football coach. "And I guess with Tressel, it was breaking new ground. We're doing the same with Matta."

The delayed payments can give universities and teams flexibility in managing the funds until they are paid, said Marc Kessler, a Columbus lawyer who is chairman of the Ohio State Bar Association's committee on sports and entertainment law. Pro franchises use the deferred payouts to players to manipulate salary cap space, he said.

Future payments

Ohio State must put $250,000 into Tressel's deferred compensation account on Jan. 31, 2006, $300,000 a year later and $350,000 each of the next two years. Even if the contract is not extended past its termination in 2009, Ohio State must put payments totaling $750,000 into the account over the next three years when Tressel is no longer the coach.

If Tressel were to leave Ohio State or is fired for violating terms of his contract, such as for breaking NCAA bylaws or not fulfilling his obligations, he would not receive the money accrued in the account or any of the future payments.

In 2005, Tressel will be paid a base salary of $344,000, $505,000 for radio and television shows, $5,000 for his summer football camp and $376,000 from the university's athletic apparel agreement with Nike, for a total of $1.23 million. That figure does not include several bonus clauses, new cars for Tressel and his wife, 10 tickets and four parking passes to each home football game and four tickets to each Buckeyes home men's basketball game.

Tressel, 40-11 in his four years as coach, also received a one-time $200,000 signing bonus on the contract's effective date, June 16, 2003.




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