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Donovan and Meyer: Highest-paid tandem?

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- When coaches win NCAA championships, financial windfalls are usually around the corner. But Florida has taken the monetary gain of two of the nation's most high-profile coaches to a unique level.

Athletic director Jeremy Foley announced on Thursday that men's basketball coach Billy Donovan and the Gators have agreed in principle to a new contract, with an option for a seventh year. Foley also said football coach Urban Meyer agreed to the same structure -- six-year deal, with an option for a seventh.

Donovan will earn $3.5 million per year for each of the next six years, while Meyer will be paid $3.25 million per year. The deals make the two the nation's highest-paid basketball-football coaching tandem, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

The contracts will cost Florida more than $40 million through 2013.

"I understand those numbers are significant," Foley said, "but it's the market for having highly successful coaches."

Foley's announcement followed Donovan's news conference Thursday during which he apologized to the Orlando Magic, his family and the Gators for changing his mind about joining the NBA coaching ranks. Donovan struck a deal late Wednesday to opt out of the five-year, $27.5 million contract he signed last week with the Magic.

The Florida contracts mark the first time under Foley that the basketball coach would earn more than the football coach. Neither contract has been signed.

Florida holds both the football and basketball national championships simultaneously, a first in major-college sports history. Donovan has coached the Gators to the last two national titles; Meyer's Gators won the BCS championship last January in his second season in Gainesville.

"I'm very appreciative of the support that the University of Florida, [school president] Dr. [Bernie] Machen and Jeremy Foley have provided to me and my family," Meyer, who turns 43 in July, said in a statement released through team spokesman Steve McClain.

Donovan did not comment at Thursday's news conference about the terms of his extension. He is 261-103 in 11 seasons, including nine NCAA Tournament appearances, three Final Fours and the back-to-back national crowns.

According to the Sentinel, the 42-year-old Donovan is the highest-paid college basketball coach at a public school, while Meyer's salary is believed to be second to Alabama's Nick Saban ($4 million annually) among football coaches at public schools.