Head Coach Rod Carey’s contract quietly extended through 2022

By Eddie Garcia

Head Coach Rod Carey’s time at NIU was quietly extended until 2022, and he is expected to earn an estimated $2.4 million over the next four years, according to the third amendment made to his contract Jan. 5.

The newly amended contract, which was provided to the Northern Star in a Freedom of Information Act request, went into effect Jan. 1 and extends Carey’s employment through June 30, 2022.

NIU Athletics did not receive public approval of the contract from the Board of Trustees and did not issue a news release in regard to the contract extension, which happened nearly 10 months ago.

“There was no formal announcement of coach Carey’s contract extension,” NIU spokesperson Joe King said. “Intercollegiate sports does not routinely put out news releases on contract extensions and did not do so in this case.”

Associate Athletic Director Donna Turner said Athletic Director Sean T. Frazier and Carey would not comment on the contract until the current football season is over.

This was not the first time Carey’s contract was extended in secret.

On June 17, 2015, a second amendment was made to Carey’s original contract, keeping him as head coach of the football team until June 30, 2020.

Once again, there was no news release or public Board approval given at that time.

King said the NIU Board of Trustees does not need to approve of any Huskie Athletics’ contracts. However, the first line of the third amendment to the contract states that the amendment itself was entered “by and between the Board of Trustees […] and Rod Carey.”

According to King, Frazier has the authority to sign the contract on behalf of the Board of Trustees and has the final say on all sports contracts.

King said Frazier consulted with university officials to negotiate the contract, but he could not yet provide documents or written evidence to back the statement presented.

From Jan. 1 through June 30, 2018, Carey earned $35,250.00 per month, for a total $211,500, according to the third amendment.

From July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2022, the contract has him set to earn $2,193,727.20.

All together, Carey’s contract will pay him a base of $2,405,227.20 over the next four years, making him among the highest-paid university employees. This does not include any bonuses or incentives Carey could receive.

President Lisa Freeman went through a week of negotiations with the Board before finalizing her current contract Sept. 24. Freeman’s contract approved her to make $450,000 a year, and she is eligible for an annual performance bonus of up to $25,000 for the next four years. Bonuses included, Freeman will make $1.9 million over the course of her four-year contract.

Carey is still expected to make half a million dollars more than President Freeman over the next four years, including her bonuses, which she announced her family will donate annually to the NIU Foundation for student scholarships.

The Huskies have played in the Mid-American Conference title game three times since Carey was hired, including winning the 2014 MAC Championship.

Under Carey, the Huskies have a 49-27 overall record and have appeared in four bowl appearances in the past five years, all of which resulted in a loss.

About contract approval:

King said Frazier negotiated the contract with Executive Vice President and Provost Christopher McCord who oversees human resources. Frazier also consulted with Freeman who communicated the particulars of the contract to Board Chair Wheeler Coleman. Coleman later informed the Board. The contract was then ultimately signed by McCord on Dec. 21, 2017.

According to Section V of the Board of Trustees regulations, the president should advise the Board on matters not specifically required by law but which should be brought to the Board’s attention. This includes matters with significant financial implications and substantial public interest or ethical considerations.

When asked if the Board was consulted in official capacity, King said he was still looking into the matter further, leaving the question unanswered.