Bret Bielema Getting $12 Million to Not Coach Football is Everything Wrong With College Sports
Ok, the headline is not a lie, The University of Arkansas is paying now former Head Coach Bret Bielema $12 million to not be their Head Football Coach.
To break that down---the money is slated to be paid in full by the last day of 2020...which means Bielema will get roughly $322,000 or so per month....to not be the Razorbacks coach.
Which is the most insane, idiotic thing I've ever heard.
Kyle Deckelbaum of KATV in Little Rock has the statement from the University....
Yeah, sure, the money will be "Pro-Rated" should he land another job in that time period based on what he gets paid at the "New Gig"....which if I'm him, would be $100 a day---because he can do it and not take a pay cut.
The Razorbacks cut ties with Bielema during the College Carousel at the beginning of December and summarily hired Chad Morris to run the program.
Okay. I get the "Razorback Foundation" a.k.a the "Boosters" are on the hook for this money. And hey, maybe they've got that kind of disposable money just sitting around to pay someone to go away and another couple million to pay someone to be the new coach.
If that's the case---good for you guys.
You set the wrong precedent though. This is Arkansas we're talking about here. Not Alabama, not Georgia, not Ohio State or Clemson. The Razorbacks are and have always been a middle of the pack SEC West team with aspirations of greatness. Which is why they thought Bielema would be "The Guy" when they poached him from Wisconsin.
The notion of paying someone that kind of money though to "Not" be your coach is just wrong on every level. Yet this isn't the most egregious example. Texas A&M was on the hook for $20 million to Kevin Sumlin when they fired him and then dropped $70 million on Jimbo Fisher. Sumlin did find another job (Arizona), saving the boosters from a full payout---but where the heck is this money coming from.
You can't buy your way to a "Championship" at the College level no matter how hard you try. Alabama has their Saban and is paying him an obscene amount of money. He was a known quantity and nobody knew he'd have the kind of run he's had with the Crimson Tide until it happened.
Same thing at Clemson. Dabo Swinney was an Assistant Coach just a few years ago when he got promoted to the Head Coaching job. And he wasn't making much money. At least until the Tigers became a consistent winner.
I get the "Buyout" is put in place to keep coaches from jumping between jobs. But when you fire coaches willy, nilly your subject to be stuck paying said buyout your ownselves. Ultimately most of the "Power" schools do this through "Foundations" or other "Tax Exempt" organizations with gazillions of dollars. And it must be nice that these "Boosters" are willing to drop "tens of millions" of dollars randomly with little to no accountability.
It's what seems to separate the haves with the have nots.
Maybe if it were the Universities their own selves who had to cough up the money it would stop. But---I don't think that will ever happen. Big College Football programs are now basically playthings for the mega-rich which is wrong on more levels than I or anyone else can count.
But it's something not likely to change either.....