NCAA probe won't halt Gene Chizik pay

Updated: June 14, 2011, 8:16 PM ET
Associated Press

MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- Auburn coach Gene Chizik's new contract allows him to be paid if there is an NCAA investigation into possible major rules violations, a departure from his previous deal.

Chizik's new deal, released to The Associated Press on Tuesday, merely says the coach agrees to comply with Southeastern Conference and NCAA rules and disciplinary procedures and cites Article 4 of the SEC's constitution outlining the commissioner's authority and Bylaw 19:8, which deals with enforcement.

The bylaw is under revision, and SEC spokesman Charles Bloom said it is not ready for distribution. Chizik's attorney, Russ Campbell of Birmingham, declined comment and Auburn officials had no immediate comment.

The old one signed in June 2009 included a stipulation allowing Auburn to suspend pay to Chizik if his program is being investigated by the university, the SEC or the NCAA for "alleged major rules violations or significant or repetitive violations."

Auburn has faced considerable negative publicity and NCAA scrutiny in the months before and after winning the national title.

The NCAA is investigating the recruitment of Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Cam Newton, whose father shopped him to Mississippi State in a pay-for-play scheme. Auburn has not been charged with wrongdoing.

Plus, four former players told HBO's "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel" in a March report that they were paid thousands of dollars during their college careers.

Chizik was rewarded for winning a national title in his second season with a contract that places him among college football's highest paid coaches.

His new deal, which extends through 2015, includes a sliding-scale buyout that starts at $10 million if he's fired this season.

If Chizik wants to leave at any time, he'll owe Auburn $3.5 million.

He can make another $1 million in bonuses, including $100,000 for winning the SEC championship game, $50,000 for playing in it -- and the same amounts for making and winning a BCS bowl game. He'd make $200,000 for playing for the national title and $400,000 for winning one.

Chizik's coaching staff also received raises and extensions. Auburn's assistants will make nearly $4.1 million, only about $300,000 shy of Chizik and his entire staff's initial combined salaries.

Offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn received a raise to $1.3 million after interviewing for Vanderbilt's head coaching job.

Defensive coordinator Ted Roof is the next highest paid assistant at $500,000, a 23 percent hike.

The coaches' contracts run through June 2013, though assistant head coach Trooper Taylor's $425,000 annual deal runs an extra year. Taylor would also get an extra $50,000 for each year he's still at Auburn the day after national signing day.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press