Wednesday , Mar , 09 , 2005 C.Y. Ellis

Ohio State’s Matta signs eight-year contract

=== Ohio State’s Matta signs eight-year contract ===

Columbus, OH (Sports Network) – Ohio State has reportedly signed men’s
basketball coach Thad Matta to an eight-year contract.

According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Matta will be paid $1.1 million in
total salary this season, which includes a $350,000 bonus he received to
satisfy his Xavier buyout. He could also increase his pay next year by
reaching any or all of 10 incentive clauses that total $290,000.

The 37-year-old Matta was initially given a seven-year contract upon his
hiring on July 7 last year and then had a one-year extension added on.
However, the agreement between Matta and the university was preliminary after
the school imposed a one-year ban on postseason play.

The formal signing, though, eliminates any speculation that Matta will not
stay in Columbus should Ohio State be given harsher penalties by the NCAA. He
will now be with the Buckeyes through the 2011-12 campaign after originally
replacing Jim O’Brien, who was fired in June for a violation of NCAA bylaws.

The violations stemmed from an ongoing investigation of the basketball program
in response to violations of NCAA rules. The infraction the school is dealing
with involves improper cash benefits given by O’Brien to a recruit who
ultimately did not come to Ohio State.

O’Brien has since sued the university, claiming the firing violated the terms
of his contract.

Matta’s signing comes just days after Gene Smith was named Ohio State’s new
athletic director. Smith took over following the January resignation of Andy
Geiger, who stepped down following the many scandals at the school.

Although Ohio State cannot participate in this year’s NCAA Tournament because
of the school sanctions, the team will compete in this week’s Big Ten
Tournament in Chicago.

Matta has led the Buckeyes to a 19-11 record this season, which
includes an 8-8 mark in Big Ten play. The team is also fresh off a stunning
65-64 upset of No. 1 and previously unbeaten Illinois.

The win over the Illini marks the second straight season that Matta has
personally defeated the final undefeated team in Division I. Last year, while
with Xavier, Matta and his Musketeers shocked then-unbeaten and top-ranked
St. Joseph’s in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic-10 Tournament.

Xavier went on to win the conference tournament last season before continuing
its surprise run all the way to the Elite Eight. The Musketeers finished 26-11
before losing 66-63 to Duke in the regional final.

Matta spent three highly successful campaigns at Xavier after beginning his
head coaching career at Butler in 2000. In his five years as a collegiate
coach, Matta has compiled a record of 121-42.