According to a report from Mike Rapp at Rivals, several sources within Vanderbilt athletics have confirmed that James Franklin's contract extension with Vanderbilt (first reported by Clay Travis at OKTC) will increase his annual salary to "approximately $3 million" and give him a "de facto lifetime contract" similar to what CKS and CTC currently enjoy. Moreover, according to Rapp, "the new agreement between VU and Franklin includes facility improvements that will put the football program on a level playing field with its SEC counterparts. Rumor is that among those improvements may be an indoor practice facility, a big ticket item that Franklin has long believed is crucial for his program to recruit the best student athletes."
This is huge news. We'll have more thoughts in due course, but I have to admit that my initial reaction is a tad conflicted. I'm incredibly excited to see this kind of commitment from the administration and I definitely believe James Franklin is the right coach for Vanderbilt. At the same time, I have to wonder (among other things) how dramatically this is going to raise expectations. I'm a pretty irrationally optimistic fan most of the time, but it's hard for me to even allow myself the thought of Vanderbilt becoming what Stanford is right now, as much as I might like to. That being said, if anyone can do it, CJF sure seems like he's got what it takes.
To some this will seem like simply the natural next step in order to secure one of the hottest coaches on the market. To others it may seem premature or even misguided. Wherever you come down on it, it's hard to deny that with this move Vanderbilt is saying, "We're not just going to win, we're going to compete for championships."
"All in" indeed.