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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.

He also receives cumulative bonuses for on-court success: $50,000 for winning the Big East tournament title, another $50,000 for making the regional semifinals and finals, and $75,000 when the Cardinals knocked off Florida to book their trip to the Superdome.

Pitino will cash another $150,000 check if Louisville cuts down the nets Monday night.

Then there is Matta, whose total package this season _ base salary, media responsibilities, deferred compensation, retention bonuses, retirement and endorsements _ totals $2,735,000.

The Ohio State coach already has accrued $20,000 for a Big Ten co-championship and $40,000 for making the NCAA tournament. He earned another $20,000 for making the regional finals and $20,000 more when the Buckeyes beat top-seeded Syracuse for a spot in the Final Four.

That’s a total of $100,000 in bonuses so far, and Matta would double it if the Buckeyes win two more games for the school’s first national title since 1960.

That’s the cost of doing business in major college athletics.

Or, more accurately, the cost of success in major college basketball.