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Bret Bielema, Arkansas settle dueling lawsuits

At long last, Bret Bielema and Arkansas can go their separate ways.

Nearly three years and five months to the day after he coached his final game for the Hogs, the former Arkansas head coach reached a settlement with the Razorback Foundation over the coach's buyout.

As a result, Arkansas will pay Bielema $3.5 million (minus attorney fees, of course), roughly half what the coach sought. In total, Bielema will net $8 million of the $11.9 million buyout as written on his contract, extended in 2015 and set to last through 2020.

“We believe the resolution of this matter is in the best interest of the Razorback Foundation and our membership,” said Scott Varady, Executive Director of the Razorback Foundation. “We wish Coach Bielema and his family the best moving forward.”

“I am pleased to announce the resolution of our differences with the Razorback Foundation,” said Bielema. “We wish everyone in Razorback Athletics nothing but the best in the years to come.”

Bielema originally sued Arkansas because the school stopped paying his contractually-obligated buyout, and the school countersued because it believed Bielema intentionally took a low-paying job with the New England Patriots, knowing Arkansas would cover the difference. Court documents later revealed Bill Belichick thought he overpaid Bielema for his job as a special assistant to the head coach; Bielema earned $100,000 in that post, while the Pats typically paid no more than $65,000 to support staffers with no NFL experience.

Bielema later moved to on-field coaching, spending 2019 as the Pats' defensive line coach and 2020 coaching outside linebackers for the New York Giants.

He is now, of course, the head coach at Illinois, where he signed a 6-year contract averaging $4.2 million a year.

Had the case gone to court, Arkansas was prepared to subpoena Belichick to testify, where the coach would have been compelled to reveal his staffing strategies and "We're on to Seattle" would not be an acceptable answer.

As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.