Bobby Petrino set for unique bonus

— -- Ten months into Bobby Petrino's second tenure as the head coach of the the Louisville Cardinals, he is expected to receive an academic bonus that is two and half times larger than the bonus the school would owe him if his team won the national championship.

Petrino is in line to get a $500,000 bonus, one of the largest academic bonuses in NCAA history, as a result of his players maintaining at least a 935 score on their Academic Progress Rate (APR), which accounts for eligibility and retention of players on the team.

Louisville sports information director Kenny Klein said the school is still finalizing the APR for the 2013-14 season, but is confident Petrino has reached the required threshold.

The large size of the bonus might seem generous for several reasons, including the fact that Petrino wasn't even employed by the school for the Fall 2013 semester he is now getting credit for.

Hired on Jan. 9, Petrino was only on campus for the spring semester, but his contract stipulates that Louisville will pay him in November if the previous season's APR that they calculate in October falls above 935.

The bonus also awards Petrino for what amounts to maintaining academic postseason eligibility.

For the 2014-15 season, schools must earn either a 930 four-year average APR or a two-year 940 average in order to participate in NCAA championships.

Louisville lost three scholarships when its APR for the football team for the 2009-10 season dropped to 908.

Petrino's predecessor, Charlie Strong, who was at the school in the fall semester, had only had a $50,000 bonus in his contract if the APR hit 950 and Klein said Strong isn't entitled to any bonus money because the University of Texas head coach is now not an employee of the school.

Klein said the school put the clause into Petrino's contract because "we previously experienced a significant dip in our APR when a coaching changeover occurred and that is not happening now."

Petrino has a base salary of $3 million. The APR bonus triggers a $41,667 addition onto a $250,000 bowl bonus should the team play in the postseason.

Petrino also is still eligible for additional academic bonuses ($25,000 for a 2.5 team GPA, $50,000 for a 2.75 team GPA and $75,000 for a 3.0 team GPA).

Louisville is 7-3, including a 5-3 record in its first year in the ACC. On Tuesday, the program announced it had lost its starting quarterback Will Gardner to a knee injury.