Penn State is on the hook for potentially more than $80 million in the new 10-year contact extension signed by head football coach James Franklin on Tuesday.
Why was Franklin worth that much to Penn State administrators? According to athletic director Sandy Barbour, it’s just as much about what they see as a very bright future with Franklin as it is what he’s accomplished in his nearly eight seasons on the job.
“We will continue our collective efforts to constantly improve in all aspects of our program,” Barbour said. “We have made, and will need to continue to make, significant investments in our football program because we believe we have a very bright future under James. With this contract, we are signaling our sustained commitment to being one of the premier programs in the history of college football. Our goals and aspirations relating to football have never wavered and our investments today and in the future of our program will allow us to compete at the highest level.
“James has been a tremendous leader, providing a Penn State standard of care and attention to all aspects of growth and development for our student-athletes. Our young men have benefited from his guidance academically, socially and athletically. I’m thrilled James has committed to Penn State and to providing that leadership for years to come. I’m looking forward to years of impact for students and community for our football program under his leadership and to the Franklin family remaining valued and prominent members of our community. I know there will be much success ahead for our football program with Coach Franklin at the helm.”
Just like Franklin, Barbour is in her eighth year at Penn State, as is University President Eric J. Barron, who took over in May of 2014, months after Franklin was hired. Barron highlighted the on- and off-the-field successes of Franklin’s program in his tenure.
“Penn State is very happy to offer this extension to Coach Franklin, who has created an environment in which our student-athletes can be successful on the field, as well as leaders in our community and beyond,” Barron said. “As head coach, James continues to build the Nittany Lion football program even while navigating a number of exceptional challenges, including COVID-19 and a shift in amateurism rules in college sports. We look forward to his sustained success, his pursuit of excellence, and his remaining an integral part of Penn State football and our University.”