Trustees approve Saban’s contract

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — University of Alabama trustees approved the eight-year, $32 million contract for football coach Nick Saban on Thursday.

The deal doesn’t include a buyout clause if he wants to leave early and puts a cap on the number of public appearances Saban must make every year.

Saban’s base salary will be $225,000 with the rest coming in an escalating personal services fee that rises from $3.275 million this year to $3.975 million each of the final three years.

The contract, which is the richest awarded a college coach, also allows the former Miami Dolphins coach to limit his public appearances, while offering incentives that could reach $650,000 for academic and on-field success.

Under the contract, Saban does not have to speak or appear at more than 15 engagements unrelated to endorsements, such as alumni and booster clubs.

The board of trustees compensation committee approved the contract without discussion.

His signature might have seemed a formality six months after his hiring from the Dolphins, but unsigned contracts have been an issue for Tide football coaches in recent years.

Dennis Franchione left a 10-year contract extension on the table when he left for Texas A&M after the 2002 season.

His successor, Mike Price, was fired without coaching a game for off-the-field behavior. Since he hadn’t signed a reported seven-year, $10 million deal, Price was denied severance pay.

The Saban contract also includes clauses that he can be fired for cause, including major NCAA violations and behavior that puts himself or the university ‘‘into public disrepute, contempt, embarrassment, scandal or ridicule...’’

The university would not be responsible for his contract if he is fired with cause or owe him the remainder of the deal if he leaves.

The contract’s incentives include:

—$75,000 for playing in the SEC championship game, plus another $50,000 for winning the title.

—$65,000-$90,000 for playing in a non-BCS bowl game, depending on the prominence of the game and $125,000 for playing in a BCS game. He would make $200,000 for playing in the BCS title game and $400,000 if he wins.

—$25,000 for being named SEC coach of the year and twice that for national coach of the year honors.

—$50,000 if the Tide’s graduation rate ranks in the top half of the SEC, $100,000 if that rate is in the top 25 percent.

—A country club membership, two cars, a luxury box at Bryant-Denny Stadium and up to 25 hours of yearly flight time for personal travel in a noncommercial plane.