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Jim McElwain's extension makes no sense


Jim McElwain has done a very nice job at Colorado State since arriving following the 2011 season. Today he was "rewarded" with a lengthy contract extension. 

From the release:

McElwain guided the Rams’ football program in 2013 to its most wins in a single season since 2002, including a victory in the New Mexico Bowl. His team’s 8-6 record marked an improvement for the second year in a row after taking over a program that had posted 3-9 records for three consecutive seasons before his arrival.

“Jim McElwain has breathed new life into our football program,” Morris said. “Last season’s exhilarating come-from-behind victory in the New Mexico Bowl illustrated all of the positive attributes McElwain and his staff have infused in their student-athletes—the perseverance to never give up and the unique bond to support one another on every play. That was a moment that all Rams fans are extremely proud of, and it provided a glimpse of where this program is headed.”

So here's what I don't get. Mac's initial contract (signed nearly 3 years ago) included a base salary of $1.35 million. This multi-year extension only came with a $150,000 raise from that base contract.

McElwain’s initial five-year contract, signed upon his hire in December 2011, included base salaries of $1.35 million with the potential to earn a bonus of $150,000 related his team’s Academic Progress Rate (APR) score. His new five-year contract increases his base salary to $1.5 million with the same bonus structure. Those bonuses are contingent upon having no major NCAA violations. It also includes optional extensions for up to five seasons beyond the initial term of the contract.

Oh, and then it gets worse... 

McElwain’s new contract also includes substantial increases in the amount he would have to pay CSU if he leaves before his contract is up. This includes an initial buyout of $7.5 million, and possible future buyouts of $7.5 million or more as long as he would have five years remaining on his contract, depending upon possible extensions and/or increases in his base pay.

So, a minimal increase in compensation; but a brutally expensive new buyout. Aye, yai, yai. That, um, is not usually a great deal for a young, upwardly mobile coach. I haven't spoken with him about this; but I'm guessing we can all take this as a sign that Mac is truly happy at Colorado State and has no plans to leave as long as they will have him.