Wednesday, June 17, 2009

State Board to Consider O'Brien Contract

The State Board of Education will consider a number of athletics-related topics when it meets in Hailey today and tomorrow, including Idaho State's request to approve basketball Coach Joe O'Brien's (right) new three-year contract. If you're into contract trivia, go to the state board's web site and click on the agenda for this week's meeting: You can see what a coach's contract looks like in all its gory detail.

Key attributes of O'Brien's new pact: base pay of $102,000, with stipends for radio and television appearances set at $22,500 for next season, $25,000 the next year and $27,500 for the final season; the contract includes a buy-out clause if O'Brien were to leave the program, including the entire value of the contract if he leaves prior to March 11 of next year; $20,000 if he goes between March 12 of 2010 and April 30 of 2011; and $10,000 if he departs between May 1, 2011 and May 1, 2012; and a whole raft of potential incentives related to academic progress of his team, attendance, number of wins, conference championships and coach of the year awards.

In addition to O'Brien's contract, the board will also consider a new deal for former Bengal women's basketball Coach Jon Newlee which would extend his current gig at the University of Idaho to five years, retroactive to last year. Newlee's pact includes an annual salary of $90,000, $15,000 a year in media appearance fees, and a whole list of potential incentives similar to O'Brien's.

Each university in Idaho will submit its financial plan for athletics for the upcoming fiscal year. This always provides some interesting insights into the financial conditions of the three Division I programs in the state and the raw data is also available at the State Board web site. It's recommended reading for anyone who wants to really understand how these athletic programs function and who pays the bills.

Broncos Consider More "Money Games"

While we're on the topic of athletic department finances, today's Idaho Statesman has an interesting article that talks about the changes Boise State's athletic department is undergoing in these difficult financial times: (There is a brief mention of some changes Idaho State is making, as well). Among the BSU changes: Bronco administrators are now considering playing annual guarantee games in football, something they have been very selective about in the past. Columnist Brian Murphy lists the six BCS schools who have openings on their upcoming schedules that he'd most like Boise State to play: At the top of the list? Notre Dame.

Montana Eliminated from Playoff Host Consideration?

If you read the Montana message boards, you'll note there is a good deal of consternation about a quote from an NCAA official who says, in essence, that Montana schools may not be able to host NCAA playoff football games in the future because the state lottery sponsors a fantasy football league tied to the NFL. Big Sky Commissioner Doug Fullerton says his reading of the NCAA rules indicates they would not impact either Montana or Montana State hosting a football playoff game, because that is an "earned right," but might keep the state from getting a pre-determined championship, like skiing: Fullerton says there will be further discussion of this topic with NCAA officials. This one will be interesting to follow in the future.

--Brad B.

And thanks for being a Bengal, it ain't always easy, but it's always fun.

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