CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — Illinois athletic director Josh Whitman’s contract extension to keep him in his position through 2031 was formally approved by the Board of Trustees at its regularly scheduled meeting Thursday morning in Chicago.
The three-year addition to Whitman’s deal includes several changes from the one he agreed to last year, including a bump in his current salary up to $1.5 million per year, retroactive to July 1. He’s in line to see that increase to $1.725 million per year on July 1, 2028.
Other changes include higher retention incentive payouts and performance bonuses, along with mitigation clauses that will make it costly for Whitman to take another competing position. If Whitman were to leave to become AD at another Big Ten school, he would $1 million for the length of the remaining contract with Illinois. If Whitman departs for another FBS athletic director position, he would owe $750,000 per year.
Through July 1, 2028, he will be required to pay liquidated damages of $750,000, if he accepts a senior executive leadership position in a professional or amateur sports league, conference, association, or similar organization. After July 1, 2028, this category will be reduced to $250,000 for every year remaining in the term. If the remaining contract term falls below three years, Mr. Whitman’s liquidated damages obligations will be eliminated.
The retention payouts are up $100,000 per distribution from the old deal, starting next year with Whitman owed $300,000 if he’s still in his current role. The performance incentives are up $50,000 from the old contract.
According to his new contract: “In the event the university terminates Mr. Whitman without cause, the university will pay 100 percent of base salary compensation remaining due during the term. However, this payment obligation will be subject to a cap of $9.0 million.”