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FRIDAY, JUNE 15, 2007
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Signed, sealed and delivered

By Josh Cooper
jcooper@decaturdaily.com · 340-2460

The University of Alabama board of trustees gave their approval as expected Thursday afternoon for football coach Nick Saban's contract.

The eight-year, $32 million deal does not include a buyout, and if Saban leaves before the end of the contract, he will not be penalized.

If Alabama fires Saban "without cause" as defined in the wording of the deal, it would have to pay him all the money that's due on the contract. When Alabama fired Mike Shula "without cause," the school did not have to pay him the total worth remaining on his deal.

Saban's number of public appearances will be limited as well, a stark contrast from his predecessors.

After the board approved his contract, Saban met briefly with reporters, saying that he didn't feel any additional pressure from the deal.

"Pressure doesn't come from external factors," he told reporters. "I won't do things any differently than I did when I was the lowest-paid coach making $8,000 per year. The gratification you get comes from doing the best job you can do regardless of other considerations."

In addition to incentives for winning and graduating players, Saban will get two university-owned cars, a 15-seat skybox in the north end zone and 12 tickets per home game.

Escape clause

If the university decides to terminate Saban's contract "without cause" Saban will receive the entire sum of his contract. If Saban decides to end his tenure early, Alabama will simply cease paying him.

The University will not have to pay Saban if it finds “cause” for firing. Such examples include conviction of a criminal violation — excluding minor traffic offenses or non-criminal offenses — fraud, any act that brings the University “into public disrepute, contempt, embarrassment, scandal or ridicule,” or a major NCAA violation.

Limited appearances

Saban only has to appear on the radio once a week during the regular and postseason, twice during spring practice and once on national signing day.

He is also contractually obligated to appear on one television show per week during the regular season, which likely will be the school’s weekly coach’s show.

The school is requiring him to appear in no more than 15 events throughout one contract year.

Former Alabama coaches Shula and Dennis Franchione were without limit in terms of the amount of functions they had to attend.

Salary structure

Saban will get $225,000 in annual base salary. This will not change throughout the contract.

In the contract, there is a “personal service fee,” which will increase from $3.275 million in 2007 to $3.975 million in 2014.

The “personal service fee” includes all shoe and clothing deals and radio and television appearances.

Incentives

If Saban does what he is supposed to do and wins, he could make a rich deal even richer. Here are some of the incentives in the contract.

  • SEC coach of the year: $25,000

  • National coach of the year: $50,000

  • If the team’s graduation rate is in the top 50 percent of all SEC schools: $50,000

  • If the team’s graduation rate is in the top 25 percent of all SEC schools: $100,000

  • Making any post-season bowl: at least $65,000, depending on the prominence of the game.

  • Making the SEC championship game: $75,000.

  • Winning the SEC championship game: $125,000.

  • Making a major SEC tie-in post-season bowl: $90,000.

  • Making a BCS bowl: $125,000

  • Making the national championship game: $200,000.

  • Winning the national championship: $400,000.

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