Osborne will get $50,000 bonus for winning national championship

(c) Copyright The News & Observer Publishing Co. and The Associated Press, 1994

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) -- A national championship season will mean a $50,000 bonus for Nebraska coach Tom Osborne after the NU Board of Regents unanimously approved the proposal Saturday.

The bonus would go into effect if Nebraska beats Miami on New Year's Day in the Orange Bowl and Nebraska winds up No. 1 in either The Associated Press or CNN-USA Today poll.

"It smacks more of a bribe," Regent Rosemary Skrupa of Omaha said jokingly. "If you are going to give away $50,000, give it to the referees."

The vote was unanimous.

Bonuses also were approved for basketball coach Danny Nee and women's basketball coach Angela Beck.

The three coaches will be rewarded for reaching the postseason, with $50,000 bonuses for winning national championships.

Nebraska is ranked No. 1 going into the Orange Bowl, but Nebraska officials insist the timing of the bonus awards is only a coincidence.

The bonuses originated with athletic director Bill Byrne and Chancellor Graham Spanier, assistant athletic director Gary Fouraker said.

Byrne said the idea is to reward a coach for an outstanding season and to remain competitive with other schools.

"While the bonus system is not ideal, we do have to recognize ... we are in a very competitive situation with other universities," Spanier told the regents. "We do want to be competitive."

One of Beck's incentives requires increased attendance at women's games. Her base salary, now $63,000, would increase by $1,600 for each 500-person gain in average regular-season paid attendance.

Beck's salary would equal Nee's, $106,842, if the average attendance at women's games increased to at least 14,000.

Osborne would receive a month's salary for an appearance in a minor bowl game and two months' salary for appearances in the Orange, Sugar or Fiesta bowls. Osborne's annual salary is $127,858, or $10,655 a month.

Regent Chairman Charles Wilson of Lincoln said bonuses should be given for integrity and the overall quality of the program.

"I really am concerned about the message conveyed when we win a national championship," he said. "We need to get away from this type of bonus."