University regents approve Fleck contract extension


MINNEAPOLIS—Football coach PJ Fleck's one-year contract extension won unanimous approval Thursday from the University of Minnesota's Board of Regents.

Fleck was hired in January on a five-year contract that started at $3.5 million with annual increases of $50,000 through 2021. The extension keeps him under contract through 2022, when he's set to make $3.75 million.

"We felt it was important after this first season to show our commitment to Coach Fleck," athletics director Mark Coyle said.

The Gophers went just 2-7 in the Big Ten and 5-7 overall in 2017, but Coyle praised Fleck for his players' academic performance and service to the community. Regents agreed.

"I think this is a very important commitment," regent Steve Sviggum said. "This guy does things the right way."

Regent Darrin Rosha said the U can't build a program unless it commits to a coach. He added that he'd hoped to see a bigger financial return when the U spent $7 million to drop Tracy Claeys and his staff for Fleck, but that's not to say it won't come in the future.

With the extension, the U also clarified that Fleck can spend more than the contractually approved 60 hours a year traveling on private aircraft to recruit players, but if he does so, that cost must be covered by donors.

The extension preserves the same buyout amounts as Fleck's original contract. The U would have to pay Fleck $12.5 million if they were to fire him next calendar year and $1.5 million if they would do so in 2022; if Fleck were to leave, he would have to give back $5 million next year or $1 million in 2022.