There have been so many “biggest game(s) of the Mark Stoops era,” one loses count.
When it comes to the UK football head coach’s bank account, however, Saturday’s Wildcats game at Vanderbilt is exceptionally consequential (as was last week’s 37-34 loss to Mississippi for the reasons you will see below).
Due to incentive clauses in the contract extension Stoops signed with the University of Kentucky last March 16, if the Wildcats (6-3, 3-3 SEC) get to seven wins in a season it creates a bounty for the UK head man.
According to Stoops’ contract, any season “in which the university’s football team wins at least seven but no more than nine games (including, if applicable, any postseason games), the terms of this agreement shall be extended by one year.”
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So a Kentucky victory Saturday would mean Stoops’ contract — which currently expires after the 2021 season — would automatically extend through the 2022 campaign.
Should UK get to 10 wins in a season — still mathematically possible, but requiring the Cats to win out, including a victory at unbeaten Georgia, plus a bowl win — it would automatically extend Stoops’ deal with UK by two years.
Besides Stoops, UK President Eli Capilouto and Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart also signed the amended contract.
The Kentucky coach has more at stake Saturday in Music City, however, than a contract extension.
In the amended incentive clauses in Stoops’ contract, it says “Coach will receive $250,000 for each win by the university’s football team beginning with the seventh win of each season (including, if applicable, any postseason games).”
So if Kentucky is victorious in the Music City, Stoops will return to Lexington with seven wins, an extra year on his contract and an additional $250,000 headed to his bank account.
For the UK coach, you might say it’s “the biggest game of the Mark Stoops era.”