Cam Newton brouhaha aside, this has been a dream season for Auburn and head coach Gene Chizik , who had to have only seen 11-0 starts and top-two BCS rankings in his wildest fantasies when he was trudging through his final 2-10 season at Iowa State .
Which might explain why Chizik agreed to contract terms that might be costing him , say, a new Lexus each month, according to a USA Today report:
Chizik's total compensation for this season was set at $2.25 million. With his team's record at 11-0, he is still in contention for his maximum of $1.3 million in athletically related bonuses. He also could get $150,000 based on the team's academic performance.Learning that such a highly unusual clause (which punishes Chizik not for uncovered violations but merely for an investigation ) exists in Chizik's contract helps explain why the Tiger athletic department attempted to insert the same into new men's basketball coach Tony Barbee 's contract before Barbee and his lawyers objected. But learning that Chizik signed on anyway also emphasizes just how much Chizik was willing to sacrifice to make the leap from Ames to Auburn. (It may also emphasize that the Auburn athletic department, much criticized in some corners for playing Newton against Georgia, does take its compliance obligations seriously.)
However, Auburn can suspend one or both of the nearly $60,000 payments it makes monthly to Chizik for personal endorsement rights and TV, radio and personal appearances "in the event an investigation is instituted by Auburn, the SEC or the NCAA into alleged major rules violations involving Coach and/or the football program," the contract says. Auburn senior associate AD Scott Carr, in an e-mail, declined to comment.
The good news for Chizik is that at this stage, despite the "no comment" from Carr, he's probably still drawing that $60,000 per month; while the NCAA investigation into Newton's eligibility (or lack thereof) continues, no one has yet reported that Auburn itself, Chizik, or any of his staff has fallen under that investigation's scope.
Of course, with new twists and turns emerging in the Newton case seemingly by the day, Chizik might not want to include that money in his December