Penn State releases terms of James Franklin's contract extension

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Penn State releases terms of James Franklin's contract extension

David Eckert9 days
Article written by:David EckertDavid Eckert


Head coach James Franklin of the Penn State Nittany Lions leads the team onto the field before the game against the Illinois Fighting Illini at Beaver Stadium on October 23, 2021 in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

Penn State football coach James Franklin’s 10-year contract will pay him $7,000,000 per season in total guaranteed compensation until 2031, according to a document released by the athletic department on Tuesday afternoon.

Franklin’s previous contract was slated to pay him $5,750,000 in 2022, rising by $250,000 until the end of the contract in 2025. Under Franklin’s new terms, his guaranteed compensation remains fixed at $7 million each year.

According to data gathered by USA Today, Franklin is the highest-paid head coach in the Big Ten and the ninth-highest-paid coach in the nation.

His contract also includes an annual $500,000 retention bonus.

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It would cost $12 million for an institution or NFL team to buy Franklin’s contract out before April 1, 2022. That number drops to $8 milllion through the end of 2022.

In 2023, it sits at $6 million before dropping to $2 million in 2024 and 2025, then $1 million from 2025 onward.

Penn State’s buyout without cause is $8 million multiplied by the number of remaining years on Franklin’s deal.

Franklin’s contract also includes an annual $1 million life insurance loan, as well as various incentives.

Franklin can make $350,000 for winning the Big Ten Title game, $800,000 for winning the national title, and $150,000 for being named the national coach of the year.

If Penn State wins the national title, his base pay will increase by $800,000 as well.

The contract also includes 55 hours of private aircraft use each calendar year.

Penn State executives weigh in on contract

James Franklin: “Penn State’s future is bright, and I’m honored to continue to serve as your head football coach. Nine weeks ago, the administration approached me about making a long-term investment in our football program. This prompted numerous conversations outlining the resources needed to be competitive at a level that matches the expectations and history of Penn State. What’s most evident from those conversations is the importance of our student-athletes’ success both on and off the field.

“With the support of President Barron, Sandy Barbour, and the Board of Trustees we’ve been able to create a roadmap of the resources needed to address academic support, community outreach, Name, Image and Likeness (NIL), facility improvements, student-athlete housing, technology upgrades, recruiting, training table and more. This renewed commitment to our student-athletes, community and fans reinforces all the reasons I’ve been proud to serve as your head football coach for the last eight years and why my commitment to Penn State remains steadfast. Throughout this process I’ve kept our leadership council, recruits and staff updated on those conversations and I’m excited we’ve reached an agreement we can finally share with you.” 

Athletic Director Sandy Barbour: “We are excited to have James Franklin lead our football program for a long time,” said Barbour. “We will continue our collective efforts to constantly improve in all aspects of our program. We have made, and will need to continue to make, significant investment in our football program because we believe we have a very bright future under James. With this contract, we are signaling our sustained commitment to being one of the premiere programs in the history of college football. Our goals and aspirations relating to football have never wavered and our investments today and in the future of our program will allow us to compete at the highest level.”

“James has been a tremendous leader, providing a Penn State standard of care and attention to all aspects of growth and development for our student-athletes. Our young men have benefited from his guidance academically, socially and athletically. I’m thrilled James has committed to Penn State and to providing that leadership for years to come. I’m looking forward to years of impact for students and community for our football program under his leadership and to the Franklin family remaining valued and prominent members of our community. I know there will be much success ahead for our football program with Coach Franklin at the helm.”

University President Eric Barron: “Penn State is very happy to offer this extension to Coach Franklin, who has created an environment in which our student-athletes can be successful on the field, as well as leaders in our community and beyond,” said Barron. “As head coach, James continues to build the Nittany Lion football program even while navigating a number of exceptional challenges, including COVID-19 and a shift in amateurism rules in college sports. We look forward to his sustained success, his pursuit of excellence, and his remaining an integral part of Penn State football and our University.”