AKA paying coaches, HCs and assistants, to go away.
SEC led the conferences in paying dead money since 2010, and Auburn led the country. The ESPN survey includes football, men’s hoops and women’s hoops coaches, both HCs and assistants, and strength and conditioning coaches.
Overall, FBS schools have spent more than $500 million (and climbing) in dead money since 2010.
We’re actually well down the list, probably because Bielema’s buyout was curtailed thanks to his failure to actually look for a real job. We’re listed as paying $6 million to 23 coaches, with two payments of more than $1 million (probably Bielema and Morris). Petrino was fired for cause so we escaped his buyout. I believe St. John’s paid Mike more than he was making here so that was completely mitigated.
Big money from tv contracts is main driver. My granddad told me once that just because you have lot’s money doesn’t mean you have lot’s smarts in all cases. I thought about the show Beverly Hillbillies when he said that but now it is everywhere so social media gets a share of blame too,
There were bad coaching contracts before social media was a thing. When they started throwing millions at coaches, the coaches (or their agents) wanted assurances that they’d get all or most of that cash. And ADs (and presidents) gave it to them to seal the deal.
Of course nobody thinks that their hot coach will crash and burn in two years, or run the program into the ground in five. But it does happen.
I do wonder, though, if coaches have had guaranteed contracts all along, it just became an issue when the $$$$$ got so big. Lou Holtz was making $226,000 in 1982. If he had a buyout, Witt Stephens could have taken it out of his sofa change.
Seems like the big buyouts became a thing when Auburn boosters secretly flew to Louisville to woo Bobby Petrino while Tommy T still had the job. Once that got out, TT demanded & got a buyout. Since then everyone does it.
At least that seems to be the genesis of the problem. Of course, contracts have always been enforceable & a contract to pay a coach for 5 years is an enforceable contract. If the school decides to dump him 1 year into the contract, it’s on the hook for remaining 4 years. (“Buyouts” are often liquidated damages clauses for less than the full payout, but contracts & common law usually require some sort of mitigation of damages.) Seems like what has changed is the revolving contract. A successful coach always gets an extension & raise after a good year. It’s a hell of a deal for the coach. Schools are afraid not to extend it, but eventually the coach stops being effective. We were sorta lucky with Chad Morris. He sucked so badly from the get go, we didn’t keep extending him. Long’s big raise & extension for Bielema was awful.
But like Jeff said, it hasn’t been too long ago when head coaches’ salaries were low-mid 6 figures. They weren’t 7 or even 8 figures.