It pays to be a head coach in college football, even if you get canned.
The latest example of that burgeoning phenomenon is Bret Bielema, who was fired by Arkansas very shortly after the end of his fifth season with the Razorbacks. While one report from earlier this month had Bielema’s buyout pegged at $11.8 million, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette puts the number at just north of $15 million.
From the Democrat-Gazette‘s report:
Former University of Arkansas, Fayetteville football Coach Bret Bielema’s deal with the Razorback Foundation set his buyout at $15.4 million if the university fired him in 2017, according to a copy of the agreement released late Thursday under the state’s open-records law.
That number matches an amount listed in Bielema’s public employment contract with the university, which fired him Nov. 24 at the conclusion of a 4-8 season.
The Razorback Foundation, a nonprofit funded by boosters and supporters of UA athletics, is, the newspaper writes, “responsible for the final agreement with Bielema and for paying his severance,” not the university.
“We haven’t been involved in that at all,” UA trustee Tommy Boyer told the paper. “It’s a deal between Bret Bielema and the foundation, not a deal between Bret Bielema and the University of Arkansas. We only deal with the University of Arkansas side, and the foundation has its own separate board of directors. They deal with that.”
While the buyout in the agreement is set at $15.4 million, the foundation’s executive director, Scott Varady, told the Democrat-Gazette that he “can share that we continue to work with Coach Bielema’s agent on the final release agreement,” adding, “we have not completed that process yet.”