Southern California’s Clay Helton, left, and Ohio State’s Urban Meyer speak at a Cotton Bowl press conference on Thursday, Dec. 28, 2017, at the Omni Dallas Hotel in Dallas, Texas. David Jablonski/Staff

Ohio State Buckeyes: Trustees approve Urban Meyer’s contract extension

Meyer now the highest-paid coach in the Big Ten

The Ohio State Board of Trustees approved the contract Friday. Meyer will receive a $1.2 million raise. His total salary for the 2018 season will be $7.6 million. He is now under contract through the 2022 season.

The new contract runs from Feb. 1, 2018, through Jan. 31, 2023. Meyer, 53, is entering his seventh season with the Buckeyes and his 19th season as a head coach. He started his head coaching career at Bowling Green in 2001. His seven-year tenure at Ohio State is the longest run he has had at one school.

“I want to thank President Michael V. Drake for his guidance and the Board of Trustees for its work in considering this extension,” Athletics Director Gene Smith said in a statement. “I think everyone will agree that we have one of the finest coaches and mentors in Urban Meyer leading our football program.”

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According to an Ohio State press release, the department of athletics “is completely self-supporting,” meaning “it receives no university funds, tax dollars or student fees.”

In six seasons at Ohio State, Meyer is 73-8. His career .851 winning percentage (177-31) ranks third in Division I history behind Notre Dame legends Knute Rockne (105-12-5, .881) and Frank Leahy (107-13-9, .864).

Meyer ranks behind Alabama’s Nick Saban and Clemson’s Dabo Swinney in salary. He moved past Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh with this raise. Last season, Meyer made $6,431,240, which ranked fourth in the nation behind Saban ($11,132,000), Swinney ($8,504,600) and Harbaugh ($7,004,000), according to a USA Today study of coaching salaries in college football.

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Ohio State hired Meyer in November 2011. He signed a six-year, $24-million contract then. After leading the program to a national championship in the 2014 season, Meyer signed a new six-year deal that averaged close to $6.5 million per year.

The Buckeyes finished 10-2 in the regular season last fall and beat Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship. They then beat Southern California 24-7 in the Cotton Bowl.

Since Meyer was hired, Ohio State has the second-most victories in college football (73) behind Alabama (76). At Ohio State, Meyer has produced 33 NFL Draft picks in the last five seasons. That includes 10 first-round picks.

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