Cougars' Tom Herman to get $5M if school joins Power 5 conference

HOUSTON -- Houston Cougars coach Tom Herman will receive a $5 million bonus if Houston ever joins a Power 5 conference, athletic director Hunter Yurachek told reporters at halftime of Saturday's 33-23 upset victory against Oklahoma in NRG Stadium.

"We want him to be our coach for the very long term," Yurachek said. "It was a special memo between Coach Herman and myself. It's not officially in his contract, but I'd be glad to share it with you. It is legally binding. It's a memo from myself to coach Herman. The university will honor that. It's got my signature and his signature as employees of the University of Houston."

Houston has openly campaigned to join the Big 12, and it got off to a competitive start with its win Saturday.

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby is also at the game, but Yurachek said the two didn't talk, and he couldn't answer any questions about when he might give a presentation to the Big 12 on Houston's behalf.

"The one message that was loud and clear to me was [Oklahoma president] Dr. [David] Boren said he wanted somebody that was going to make the Big 12 more competitive," Yurachek said.

"You see what the program is doing right now and coaches in the Big 12 are talking about they don't want any part of the University of Houston. To me that checks that box of someone being competitive if you've got the coaches that are concerned about someone being a member of the conference."

Bowlsby told reporters at the game he is confident the conference's university presidents will make progress on their expansion discussions by the time they meet in mid-October.

"I don't have a vote," Bowlsby said. "That's at the behest of the presidents and chancellors. I am confident they will make progress [by Oct. 17]."

Yurachek said Houston is "well-positioned."

"That is up to Commissioner Bowlsby and his committee to decide the next steps there," he said. "We will continue to work as hard as we can to tell the story of the University of Houston and everything that's going on on our campus."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.