Jim Tressel made $21.7 million as Ohio State football coach over his decade-long tenure before being ousted for breaking NCAA rules, records from the publicly funded school show.
Tressel earned more than $3.5 million in 2010, the year he covered up an improper benefits scandal that has led to Ohio State being forced to appear before the NCAA’s committee on infractions this Friday.
The figures, released Tuesday to The Associated Press by Ohio State, show that almost a quarter of Tressel’s pay — $4.6 million — came from an exclusive deal under which Ohio State directed a portion of its exclusive deal with apparel-maker Nike to the coach.
During his career with the Buckeyes, Tressel was provided football game tickets valued at $104,800, more than $10,000 in Ohio State basketball tickets and over $21,000 in bowl tickets. His contracts also called for him to receive a $200,000 signing bonus in 2003, national-championship game bonuses worth a total of $835,000 (the Buckeyes played for the BCS title after the 2002, 2006 and 2007 regular seasons) and another $155,000 in bonuses for OSU players hitting certain academic standards.
Tressel’s contracts, like those of many of the top coaches, were full of perks.
He was reimbursed almost $10,000 in 2008-09 for his membership and expenses at an exclusive local country club. Leased cars for the coach and his wife, Ellen, were valued at $23,000 for 2010-11. They also benefited from personal use of jets and charter flights amounting to just under $60,000 since 2005. In addition, the university paid for hundreds of dollars in cell-phone plans.
Former assistant coach Luke Fickell, selected to take Tressel’s place as interim head coach, is being paid around $700,000 .
“I’m not focused on that one bit,” he said. “I’ve never known what I’ve made since I probably started. You could talk to my wife if there’s any questions there. If they asked me to take this job and said they weren’t going to change your pay, we weren’t going to do anything different, I’d still do it. Maybe that sounds crazy, but that’s the way I feel about it.”