Whither the $40 Million Dollar Man?
By Tony Gerdeman
COLUMBUS, Ohio — With most every seat filled to capacity at Monday's Urban Meyer press conference, and just moments before the festivities were to begin, it was announced that a press release was placed in the back of the room which included the details of Meyer's contract.
Have you ever seen footage of women racing through stores looking for wedding dresses? It went a little like that, except we were actually mindful of the television cameras around us. Though each of us understood that if you got trampled, nobody was going to help you up.
There was 'sort of' a line to get to the releases, but I wormed my way around a line and picked up all of the releases and walked back to my seat, careful not to knock over any of the cameras that are more valuable than I am.
I got back to my seat. I scanned all three documents looking for what I had been told by many others to expect—a contract worth seven years and $40 million.
There was even a report of seven years for $55 million! I couldn't wait to see what coaching lottery Meyer had won. Heck, with that kind of money, he could retire!
But it wasn't there.
I quickly tweeted that I had in my hands the contract details, but I didn't tweet said details right away because I wasn't sure they were accurate.
Six years? Four millions dollars per year? Why, that's not correct at all, I thought! There had to be more. I pored through all three documents looking for the hidden millions. After all, $16 million shouldn't be hard to find.
But it wasn't there. I asked myself, 'Did Ohio State get the numbers wrong?' Don't they even know how much they are paying him? Surely they must know. Don't they watch ESPN or read the news?
I wanted to raise my hand and point out the error to Gene Smith as he spoke to the media.
“Excuse me Mr. Smith, I was just going over this press release. Did you know that the contract details written in this release are WAY off? I don't mean to embarrass your administrative staff, but somebody typed this up saying that the deal was only for six years and $24 million, when EVERYBODY knows that the deal is actually for seven years and at least $40 million. I'm not trying to get anybody fired, but how about maintaining some level of accuracy here?”
Instead, I held back, confident that somebody else would point it out and I wouldn't have to be the bad guy. However, question after question went by and nobody asked about the errors on the pages that we were reading.
And then it dawned on me—maybe I was the only one with a bad copy. How unfortunate, I thought to myself. Among the pile of releases correctly detailing Meyer's deal as seven years and $40 million, I happened to pick up the one copy that said 'six years and $24 million'.
Of all the press releases in all of the press conferences in all of the world, I walked into the one with the typos.
I tried to sneak a peak at a copy of somebody else's release to see if it correctly stated that the deal was for seven years and $40 million. I wanted to tweet the ACTUAL details that everybody had already been told were done days ago.
I wanted to be sure. I wanted to pass on the correct numbers, and there was no way I was going to go with the false numbers that I was seeing in front of my eyes. Four million dollars per year? Can you even live on that in today's economy? Especially with kids in college?
But then a terrible thing happened. I began to see media members tweeting that the deal actually was worth six years and $24 million—as if it were fact!
I was going to stand up and shout, “Wait! They are just typos! It was some administrative intern who made a mistake! Repeal your false tweets! Repeal your false tweets!”, and right when I was about to, somebody fainted and my moment was lost.
As I write this I am still trying to get clarification from Ohio State on their clerical error. They have not yet responded back, but with this being such a monumentally embarrassing gaffe, I can forgive them a day or two for damage control.
But when they do get back with me, I will finally be able to confirm the much more lucrative deal that we were all told was done almost a week ago.
And while I'm at it, I'll probably also see if I can get a couple of interviews with Kirk Herbstreit and Chris Spielman, because I think they are going to make tremendous assistant coaches next year.
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