Penn State’s James Franklin agrees to 10-year, $75M extension

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STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Penn State football coach James Franklin agreed to a new 10-year contract that will guarantee him at least $75 million through 2031.

Franklin and Penn State’s Board of Trustees agreed to the terms, which include a yearly base salary of $7 million, retention bonuses of $500,000 each year and a $1 million annual loan for life insurance.

Franklin is 67-32 at Penn State with seven bowl appearances in his eight seasons. The Nittany Lions won the Big Ten championship in 2016.

A Pennsylvania native who called the Penn State gig his “dream job” when he was hired away from Vanderbilt in 2014 will coach his 100th game at Penn State when the Nittany Lions visit No. 12 Michigan State on Saturday.

Franklin previously signed a six-year deal in 2019. The terms of that contract would’ve had him earn $5.75 million next season with a $250,000 raise each remaining year.

“Nine weeks ago, the administration approached me about making a long-term investment in our football program,” Franklin said in a release provided by the athletic department. “This prompted numerous conversations outlining the resources needed to be competitive at a level that matches the expectations and history of Penn State. What’s most evident from those conversations is the importance of our student-athletes’ success both on and off the field.”

Franklin had been asked multiple times this season about his name surfacing as a candidate for other jobs, notably LSU and USC, and he never outright shot them down. This contract makes leaving Happy Valley a much more expensive proposition for the 49-year-old.

Should Franklin leave for another college or NFL coaching job before April 1, 2022, he would owe Penn State $12 million. If he leaves between that date and Dec. 31, he’d owe $8 million. The buyout decreases to $6 million in 2023, to $2 million the next two years and $1 million each year thereafter.

Although he didn’t point to specifics when asked at his weekly press conference on Tuesday, Franklin has long hinted he’d like to see Penn State upgrade some of its more antiquated facilities.

“We have made, and will need to continue to make, significant investment in our football program because we believe we have a very bright future under James,” Penn State Athletic Director Sandy Barbour said. “With this contract, we are signaling our sustained commitment to being one of the premiere 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.”

WVU RB Donaldson in concussion protocol, out for Baylor game

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) West Virginia running back CJ Donaldson is in concussion protocol and will miss next week’s home game with Baylor after he was injured in a loss to Texas, coach Neal Brown said Tuesday.

Donaldson remained on the ground after he was tackled on a short gain in the third quarter of Saturday’s 38-20 loss to the Longhorns. His helmet and shoulder pads were removed and he was carted off the field on a stretcher. After the game he was cleared to travel home with the team.

“He’s recovering,” Brown said. “There is a strict return-to-play (policy) that we have to follow here and I’m zero involved in it. All I do is ask the question. They don’t even start the return-to-play until they’re symptom free.”

Donaldson, a 240-pound freshman, leads the Mountaineers with 389 rushing yards and six touchdowns, with an average of 6.9 yards per carry.

West Virginia (2-3, 0-2 Big 12 Conference) is idle this week and hosts Baylor (3-2, 1-1) next Thursday, Oct. 13.

Taulia Tagovailoa says he visited brother, Tua, over weekend

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COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Maryland quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa was able to visit his brother, Tua, last weekend after the Terrapins’ game against Michigan State, he said Tuesday in his first comments to reporters since Tua left the Miami Dolphins’ game against Cincinnati last Thursday with a frightening head injury.

Taulia played in Maryland’s win over Michigan State on Saturday but was not made available to the media afterward. He said Tuesday he was able to go to Florida and spend some time with his brother, who suffered a concussion four days after taking a hit in another game but was cleared to return.

“He’s doing good, everything’s fine,” he said. “My biggest thing was just seeing him and spending as much time as I can with him. I came back Sunday night.”

Tagovailoa said he appreciates the support for his brother.

“My brother’s my heart. He’s someone I look up to, someone I talk to every day,” he said. “It was just a hard scene for me to see that.”

Tagovailoa said he was in constant contact with his mother about his brother’s situation, and he was finally able to talk to Tua on Friday night.

“I really just wanted to go there and just spend time with my family, hug them and stuff like that,” Taulia Tagovailoa said. “But he told me he’s a big fan of us, and he’d rather watch me play on Saturday. … After that phone call, I was happy and getting back to my normal routine.”

Tagovailoa indicated that his brother’s injury didn’t make him too nervous about his own health when he took the field again.

“I guess when that happens to someone like my brother, or when anything happens to one of my family members, I don’t really think of how it will be able to affect me,” he said. “I just think of: `Is he OK? How’s he doing?”‘

Although it was a short visit to Florida, he said he and Tua made the most of their chance to be together.

“I just wanted to make sure he’s healthy and stuff, which he is,” Taulia Tagovailoa said.