Source: O'Brien faces giant buyout

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Bill Reiter

Bill Reiter reported on LeBron James' first season in Miami and has covered the NBA Finals, Super Bowl, Olympics and NCAA tournament for He also co-hosts Hawkins and Reiter on FOX Sports Radio (Sundays, 12-3 p.m. ET), which can be heard on the FOX Sports App, iHeartRadio, XM247 or your local station. Previously, he was an award-winning sports enterprise writer for the Kansas City Star. Follow him on Twitter.


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A source with knowledge of Bill O’Brien’s contract tells that the buyout amount is closer to $19 million than the $9.2 million widely reported.

The Penn State football coach is believed to be on several NFL teams’ head-coaching wish lists after leading a depleted, demoralized and NCAA-sanctioned Nittany Lions team to an 8-4 record just one year after the Jerry Sandusky scandal upended the program and university.

O’Brien’s contract stipulates that if he terminates his contract with the university the damages would equal his base salary and an additional $1.35 million annually, multiplied by the years remaining on the contract.

The source said those punitive measure apply to O’Brien’s entire, new nine-year contract that was extended from five years after the NCAA sanctions. That would put the amount at $18.4-million rather than $9.2 million.

O’Brien makes only $2.3 million a year, meaning his buyout is highly disproportionate to his yearly pay despite the fact he should have had more leverage in his negotiations earlier this year when he became Penn State’s head coach.

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