James Franklin Signs 10-Year Contract Extension to Stay at Penn State

By Dan Hope on November 23, 2021 at 5:35 pm
James Franklin
Tommy Gilligan – USA TODAY Sports

James Franklin is staying in State College.

Penn State announced Tuesday that it had signed Franklin to a 10-year contract extension, bringing an end to rumors that Franklin could leave the Nittany Lions for USC or another head coaching job.

“Penn State's future is bright, and I'm honored to continue to serve as your head football coach,” Franklin said in a statement. “Nine weeks ago, the administration approached me about making a long-term investment in our football program. This prompted numerous conversations outlining the resources needed to be competitive at a level that matches the expectations and history of Penn State. What's most evident from those conversations is the importance of our student-athletes' success both on and off the field.

“With the support of President Barron, Sandy Barbour and the Board of Trustees we've been able to create a roadmap of the resources needed to address academic support, community outreach, Name, Image and Likeness (NIL), facility improvements, student-athlete housing, technology upgrades, recruiting, training table and more. This renewed commitment to our student-athletes, community and fans reinforces all the reasons I've been proud to serve as your head football coach for the last eight years and why my commitment to Penn State remains steadfast. Throughout this process I've kept our leadership council, recruits and staff updated on those conversations and I'm excited we've reached an agreement we can finally share with you.”

Per the terms of the contract released by Penn State, Franklin’s 10-year contract is worth $8.5 million per year, including $7 million in guaranteed annual compensation plus annual $500,000 retention bonuses and $1 million loans for life insurance. The contract also includes incentives for winning Big Ten East titles, making and winning the Big Ten Championship Game, making the College Football Playoff or another bowl game and winning the national championship, worth up to $1 million per year.

Whether Franklin will actually remain at Penn State for the duration of that contract is far from guaranteed, as the contract includes a buyout of just $12 million that drops to $6 million in 2023, $2 million in 2024 and $1 million in 2026.

At least for this year, though, it takes Franklin’s name out of the rumor mill for other head coaching jobs as he has decided to stay at Penn State and Penn State has decided to make an increased financial commitment to Franklin.

Franklin, who will coach his 100th game as the Nittany Lions’ head coach in their regular season finale this Saturday against Michigan, is 67-32 in eight seasons leading Penn State. He won the Big Ten title in 2016, when Penn State beat Ohio State, but holds a record of just 1-7 against the Buckeyes in his tenure with the Nittany Lions.

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