U of Illinois approves $1.2 million contract for Cubit

FILE - In this Oct. 24, 2015 file photo, Illinois interim head coach Bill Cubit walks the sideline during an NCAA college football game against Wisconsin in Champaign, Ill. On Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016, the university's board of trustees approved a contract that will pay Cubit $1.2 million a year for two years. (AP Photo/Bradley Leeb, File)

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) University of Illinois trustees have approved a contract that will pay football coach Bill Cubit $1.2 million per year for two years.

Trustees voted on the deal for Cubit on Thursday in Chicago.

Cubit's pay is the lowest in the Big Ten. Ohio State's Urban Meyer is the highest-paid football coach in the conference at $5.8 million. The contract is also unusually short. Most coaches are signed for at least four years.

University administrators have said the short-term deal made sense as the school looked for an athletic director to replace the fired Mike Thomas.

Cubit took over as interim coach in August after Tim Beckman was fired. The deal would pay him a prorated amount of his salary if he is fired without cause. The minimum would be $250,000.