When it was first reported that Minnesota and P.J. Fleck were closing in on a contract extension, and then when the university confirmed the extension, there was one overriding question: what are the buyout figures? The numbers, now available, may surprise some.
Under the terms of Fleck’s old contract, the third-year head coach was set to make $3.6 million this year, with a buyout of $4 million if he were to leave at season’s end. The new contract calls for a $1 million pay raise, to $4.6 million, in 2020.
And the buyout? If he were to leave after Year 1 of the deal, he would owe the university $10 million. That number decreases to $4.5 million for Year 2; $3 million in Years 3-4; and $2 million for Years 5-6. There is no buyout for Year 7.
If Fleck is fired without cause at any point in time, he would be owed 65 percent of the remaining guaranteed compensation called for in the extension. Example: If Fleck is fired following the 2019 season, he would be owed a buyout figure of a little over $21 million. If he were to be fired following the 2024 season, that number would drop to just north of $6.5 million.
After the initial $1 million bump in pay, Fleck will receive a $50,000 annual raise through the remainder of the revamped deal. Fleck’s annual guaranteed compensation will max out at $4.9 million in the final year.
That new contract, which would take Fleck through the 2026 season, doesn’t just benefit the head coach. With a $3 million salary pool for his assistants this year, Fleck will, based on the new terms, have an additional $1.05 million for his 10 on-field coaches next year. That number will increase by another $200,000 for 2021.
After 5-7 and 7-6 seasons to start his time at Minnesota, the 38-year-old Fleck (he’ll turn 39 later this month) has the Gophers sitting at a perfect 8-0 this season, with a home date against No. 4 Penn State looming this weekend that’s one of the biggest games in the program’s history. Minnesota, ranked 17th in the initial College Football Playoff Top 25, is 8-0 for the first time since 1941 and has a chance to go 9-0 for the first time since the unbeaten 1904 team.