As the Gamecocks look to move forward under new head coach Shane Beamer, South Carolina athletic director Ray Tanner may have a tougher time negotiating the buyout in Will Muschamp’s contract than someone in his position normally would.
Nearly every modern-day coaching contract includes a pretty standard clause around the buyout about “duty to mitigate,” meaning that (in the simplest terms) when a coach is let go, his buyout being paid by the school he just parted ways with is offset by his next coaching opportunity.
However, Will Muschamp’s contract at South Carolina did not include that verbiage, The State points out.
The report shares that they had a few experts in contract language take a look at Muschamp’s deal and concluded that “the language of the deal says South Carolina would almost assuredly not be entitled to paying less money if Muschamp gets a new job.”
Interestingly enough, other coaches that do not have duty to mitigate language in their deals include Gus Malzahn at Auburn, Dan Mullen at Florida, Mark Stoops at Kentucky and Jeremy Pruitt at Tennessee.
Muschamp’s contract that took him through 2024 calls for South Carolina to pay 75% of his remaining salary to him. A revision to his contract took place back in December of 2019 that could have saved the school over $2 million on the buyout (per The State), and while it was approved by the board of trustees, it was never signed by Muschamp or Tanner. At the time of proposed revision, Muschamp wanted to redirect money to retain running backs coach Thomas Brown via a raise to his salary.
Because that amended contract wasn’t signed, and therefore likely cannot be enforced legally, Muschamp’s buyout is around $15.5 million.
A highly regarded defensive mind in the coaching community, Muschamp will have his pick of options available, and when he does decide on his next opportunity he’ll be receiving all of his buyout from South Carolina on top of his new salary. That could mean a true opportunity to double-dip with a large coordinator salary
However, it could also free him up to take a lower-paid opportunity somewhere like Alabama or perhaps in the NFL with Bill Belichick in New England where he could learn from one of the best in the business about the processes they’ve used to reach the pinnacle of the profession.
It’s also possible that Muschamp tries to enjoy a year or so away from football altogether, but it’s hard to envision that scenario.
It will be interesting to see what Muschamp decides to do next.
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