- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Ohio State coach Thad Matta has already cashed in on the Buckeyes’ trip to the Final Four.

So have the rest of the coaches whose teams are headed to New Orleans.

Matta has racked up $100,000 in incentives tied to his team’s performance in the Big Ten and NCAA tournament this season. And that doesn’t include the one-year extension that was triggered when the Buckeyes beat Michigan State for a share of the conference regular-season title.

Kansas coach Bill Self, whose team plays Ohio State on Saturday night, and John Calipari of Kentucky and Rick Pitino of Louisville already are racking up similar bonus packages, according to a review of their contracts by the Associated Press.

“It’s a heavyweight group, no question about that,” Self said Tuesday, referring to the quartet of coaches and their schools.

They’re getting paid like heavyweights, too.

Self signed a contract extension that runs from April 2008 through the 2017-18 season and guarantees an annual salary of $2.5 million. But it’s the bonus provisions that could turn an already princely sum into a greater financial windfall.

By winning the school’s eighth consecutive Big 12 title during the regular season, Self earned a $50,000 performance bonus. And when his team pulled away late to beat North Carolina in the Midwest Regional finals Sunday, Self guaranteed himself another $100,000.

If the Jayhawks can get by Ohio State, a team they have beaten once already this season, and then win their second national championship in five years, Self will take another $200,000 to the bank.

The potential of $350,000 in incentives pales in comparison, though, to what could await Calipari.

Despite making $3.8 million - an annual guaranteed package that gets a $1 million retention bump starting next season - officials at Kentucky still managed to sweeten the pot by factoring in hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of bonuses tied to on-court success.

Calipari already has earned an extra $50,000 for capturing the Southeastern Conference regular-season title, $100,000 each for making the regional semifinals and finals and $150,000 for beating Baylor and taking the Wildcats back to the Final Four. Winning the basketball-mad school’s eighth NCAA tournament title would net another $350,000.

Incidentally, the bonus tied to Kentucky’s academic progress rate? A mere $50,000.

Calipari’s counterpart in the Bluegrass State is making out well, too.

Pitino is making $3 million this season and next season under an extension that took effect in July 2010, and that includes a bump in annual compensation to $3.9 million starting in 2013.

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