All eyes are on Penn State head football coach Bill O’Brien after the National Collegiate Athletic Association levied heavy sanctions of fines, post-season game bans and vacated wins upon the football program on Monday.
“I talked about why I came to Penn State and why I brought this staff to Penn State… But number one was I thought that this was a place that could combine great academics with good, tough, hard-nosed football and none of that’s changed,” O’Brien said in an appearance on The Dan Patrick Show on Tuesday.
In the aftermath of the NCAA’s sanctions, some wondered whether O’Brien would stay at Penn State for the remainder of his contract, which is set to expire after the 2017 season. For four out of the next five years, there will be no postseason play for O’Brien and his Nittany Lions.
In a teleconference on Tuesday, O’Brien quickly ended that discussion.
“No question about that, coaches are sticking around,” O’Brien said. “We’re all in it together. There’s no other group of men I’d rather be in a foxhole with.”
The next four years without postseason play will be a different look for O’Brien, who has had past postseason success with the New England Patriots. When O’Brien was their offensive coordinator in the 2011-12 season, they made it to the Super Bowl.
Noteworthy points outlined in O’Brien’s head coaching contract, signed on January 6, 2012, are his performance incentive bonuses and resignation guidelines.
In addition to his base salary, O’Brien would be able to earn up to $200,000 cumulatively from postseason games. Winning the Leaders Division would earn 5 percent of his base salary, the Big Ten Championship game 8 percent, the BCS National Championship game 9 percent, and participation in a postseason bowl game, 11 percent.
If O’Brien were to leave Penn State on his own terms, both he and the university would have to consent on changes to his contract. Leaving, however, would leave O’Brien paying amounts equal to his base salary and compensation, multiplied by the number of years remaining on his contract.
In a teleconference on Tuesday, O’Brien said that with regard to his contract, “I’m the type of person where I don’t really worry about contracts too much. I just really concern myself about doing the best job I can every single day.”
O’Brien has been speaking in praise of his players and his team, determined to keep moving on in wake of the sanctions placed on his football club.
“I’ve been very proud of this football team to this point,” he said. “In our line of work, it’s about the players and I couldn’t be associated with a better group of players.”
When asked about a percentage of his certainty of remaining at Penn State for all five years, O’Brien said, “I’m not a mathematician, I don’t even, can’t even get into percentages.”