In 2011, Randy Edsall signed a six-year contract with Maryland paying him $2 million a year, with a $100,000 for winning a conference championship (ACC then, Big Ten now), $100,000 for boosting the Terps' season-ticket sales by 25 percent or more in a year, and another $100,000 for a 50 percent or more increase in Byrd Stadium suite rentals.
And now, halfway into the deal, Edsall could hit those marks and see his bonuses wiped away for poor classroom performance.
On Friday, the University of Maryland's Board of Regents unanimously approved a new policy tying bonuses to coaches and athletics directors to hitting classroom benchmarks. It is believed to be the first policy of its kind in college athletics, according to the Baltimore Sun.
"I think the notion is, if we're going to give a coach a performance bonus, that coach ought to meet minimum academic standards or else the coach really does not merit a performance bonus," David Kinkopf, one of the forces behind the new policy, said when the new clause passed the organization and compensation committee two weeks ago.
The policy applies to all five of Maryland's public Division I institutions (Towson, Coppin State, UM-Baltimore County, in addition to the flagship), and has the support of Maryland athletics director Kevin Anderson, as well as the athletics directors at Coppin State and UMBC, and U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan. From the sounds of it, the policy will apply to Edsall's assistants, his successor, his successor's successor, and so on. Good luck to the first coach (or, more appropriately, agent) that tries to fight this.
Bonuses will now be tied to each team's single-year APR score. Maryland posted a 950 last season - 930 is a passing score - which ranked 132nd among all Division I football programs in the most recent APR release.
Maryland became one of the first schools to offer lifetime scholarships to its athletes, rather than the standard one-year contract.
"I think this is another step for Maryland to be in the vanguard on issues of intercollegiate athletics," board member and former U.S. Rep. Tom McMillen said. "They were a leader on guaranteed scholarships and now they are a leader in academic accountability."
Though Maryland is believed to be the first state to enact this plan, it most certainly won't be the last.