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Explaining Bret Bielema's buyout

Friday Dec 1 Update:

Well, this makes absolutely no sense; but ESPN's Mark Schlabach is reporting Arkansas will pay Bielema $11.8 million instead of the $5.9 million he is owed. Schalabach says Bielema's attorney argued it should be the full $15.4 million (which it clearly isn't per the contract).... and somehow Arkansas agreed to negotiate to the $11.8 million figure. This does not make sense.

Original article:

In an attempt to briefly clarify a large misconception about Bret's buyout should the University decide to make a change (without cause), well, read on friends...

Bret Bielema's original contract became effective December 2012, running through December 2018.

Under that contract, Bielema, if let go this December, would have been owed $1 million, fully subject to offset, meaning if he were to accept further employment in football, any dollars received from the new job would decrease Arkansas' obligation to him.

In February 2015 (after going 3-9 in 2013 and 7-6 in 2014 - finishing 7th in the SEC West both years), Jeff Long gave Bielema a 2-year extension. The extension added years, increased Bielema's salary and increased the buyout should the University decide to part ways with him.

Over the past few years there has been a wide-held belief and countless articles stating Bielema's buyout is $15.4 million. Those all stem from this chart inserted in the amended contract.

The issue is: those relying simply on that table were missing an important clause back in his original contract (which I have underlined in red below).


What I'm saying is: Bielema's buyout, should the University decide to make that move in December is way less than $15.4 million.


To arrive at the number, you take the numerator (if done in December would be $15.4 million...if done in January would be $11.7 million) and you divide by the denominator (the total months of the Term of Employment Agreement...which is now 97 months - early Dec 2012 - Dec 2020). Thus, if done in December the total monthly payout to Bielema would be $158,763 and if done in January would be $120,619. Then you multiply the monthly number by the remaining months under contract. In December that would be 37 and in January 36.

Thus, if Bielema is let go in early December, Arkansas will owe him $5,874,231. If he is let go in early January, Arkansas would owe him $4,342,284.

All of the above remains subject to offset from any work Bielema accepts in coaching football or as an administrator with a University or professional team.

For sure, $5.8 million is a lot more than the $1 million it would have been under the original contract, but is a whole lot less than the $15.4 million that Arkansas and his agent allowed to be written about for years mistakenly. I wonder why they never corrected the authors about this ongoing mistake?

Final note, WholeHogSports has a similar article out this AM, and they add to this, noting if Arkansas makes a move on Bret, given the new contracts they have given to his assistants, Arkansas will also be on the hook for approximately $2 million for the assistants should they not immediately find new work.

There isn't a man on this earth pulling for Bret to pile up wins the rest of the way more than Jeff Long.

[Arkansas is 2-3 on the season with wins over FAMU & New Mexico State, losses vs TCU, Texas A&M and South Carolina. Still to come: Alabama, Auburn, Ole Miss, Coastal Carolina, LSU, Mississippi State and Missouri.]