A&M finalizes Kevin Sumlin's deal

COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Texas A&M's board of regents approved coach Kevin Sumlin's new six-year contract during a special telephonic meeting Thursday, and the deal includes a handsome raise and a hefty buyout for the sixth-year coach.

The school announced that Sumlin's salary has been elevated to $5 million, up from the $3.1 million annual salary from the contract he signed in January on the heels of the Aggies' 11-2 debut season in the SEC. The deal will pay Sumlin $30 million over the next six years. It also includes a large buyout. If Sumlin leaves before the end of the 2016 season, he'll have to pay $5 million to get out of the deal.

A source told ESPN.com's Brett McMurphy that the buyout on Sumlin's end goes to zero after 2016. The school announced there is also a buyout clause if it terminates the deal without cause, and that clause extends though the length of the contract, which expires Dec. 31, 2019.

Despite an 8-4 season in which the Aggies didn't reach some of the lofty goals they had after entering the year with a preseason top-10 ranking, athletic director Eric Hyman made it clear that he's pleased with the direction of the program and wanted to show a strong long-term commitment to Sumlin.

Sumlin, who is 19-6 in his two seasons since taking over at Texas A&M and is 54-23 in his career, was reported to be a candidate for the USC coaching vacancy, which was eventually taken by Steve Sarkisian. He was also as a potential candidate for NFL openings this offseason before the Aggies announced they agreed in principle to a deal last month.

"This is a very sincere, longtime commitment to an individual who has done a marvelous job, in all aspects of the job," Hyman said last month, hours after A&M initially announced the agreement. "From our student-athletes, from a competitive standpoint, from the community to the Aggie family, everybody is extremely excited to have him leading the programs."

The 21st-ranked Aggies will play No. 24 Duke in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl on Dec. 31 at the Georgia Dome.