The Buyout Story … 5-million/

Today we published an analysis of Bret Bielema’s buyout that shows we have been off the mark on the buyout amount. I think this analysis also will show that the Bielema contract never was as one-sided as we previously believed, as some offset provisions heavily favor Arkansas.

So how did the misinformation spread? Essentially, every head coach contract at Arkansas has a buyout figure listed in their contract. Bielema’s is $15.4 million through the end of this year, then it falls to $11.7 million in January. But as I read over the entirety of the 80 pages in Bielema’s contract and his amendment this week, I found some wording that I previously had overlooked; all of us had. It calls for the buyout figure to be a numerator in a mathematical equation, not the total guaranty. All the information pertaining to the buyout is located in about four sections spread across the two documents. When I caught it, I requested that we have lawyers take a look to verify and three attorneys agreed with my interpretation.

I want to apologize for incorrectly stating the $15.4 million figure multiple times on this board. If you’ve read our website for long, you know that I take pride in providing factual information, so it is a bit humbling to have been wrong on this point for so long, and it serves as a reminder to be more thorough. That is why we wrote the story - to present the facts and to clear up misinformation.

Gay was all over that. Not sure where he dug it up.

I love the accountability Matt. Its why I use this forum as my primary informational source for the Hogs. As a team, your integrity is impeccable.

Thanks for running down the correct information. You are the only reporter to do so.

Absolutely a game changer - not only on whether or not they can “afford” to fire him and also who you can go get potentially.

Also, unless there is a negotiated settlement, would this amount be paid over the remaining months if the contract term? I know that was reported before but curious if the lawyer analyzed this as well.

There is nothing to apologize for IMO. The information here is second to none and you are a big part of that. Thanks for all you do Matt and thanks for this bit of good news!

Yes, it would be paid out through December 2020 if he is fired. That is based on an interpretation of three attorneys and three others at our company with experience reading contracts, but who are not attorneys.

Matt, one question.

What made you decide to take another look at the contract? Were you tipped off by anyone to take another look and that the 15 million number was not accurate? Obviously I would never ask you to reveal a source, but I am just curious.


That was Matt doing what Matt does, always thorough, always good with the details. He just dove and read it over and over. Matt is meticulous in the way he writes, edits and with everything he does. It’s why I love him as my co-worker. I always feel comfortable after letting him give my stories a second or third read after I’m done.

Matt told me a couple of days ago what he was working on and how he was doing it, in typical Matt style. He had read it over and over and was comfortable with what he’d found. And, he was going to get a second and third opinion on someone with knowledge of contracts.

I was not tipped off by anyone. I’m sure conspiracists believe the UA administration wanted this information reported. In reality, we tried to get confirmation from the UA over the course of two days and were told they would have no comment. We also were unable to reach the UA legal counsel.

I decided to look into it earlier this week after some disagreement in a thread on here about whether it really was $15.4 million. I spent several hours working on it early Tuesday morning, then once I felt comfortable with my interpretation, I spoke to Tom and asked him to read it over, highlighting the sections I thought he should see. We agreed with an interpretation and at that point took it up the chain. We all felt that some attorneys needed to verify what we saw and after a couple of days of working on it, it published today.

You read my mind.

Great work and congrats for breaking this story. Kudos to the entire staff at WHS.

Good job on it and also on your apology, which many ppl would not have offered.

I think I understand, now, but want to be sure because I don’t have the contracts.

The article to me suggests that if they fire him at the end of the year the actual buyout $ changing hands would be less than $6 million in monthly payments through some time in 2020.

Is that right?

Yes. It breaks down like this:

15,400,000 (buyout) / 97 (months) = $158,762.88 per month settlement, paid each month through December 2020, which is the final month of his agreement.

158,762.88 (monthly) x 37 (months left on contract) = around $5.874 million, assuming he is let go after the season ends. There would be a prorated amount for any partial months worked, too, which basically comes out to around $5,300 per day.

The amount owed to him is offset by any gross compensation he receives through December 2020.

That is based on our interpretation of how the contract reads. Some attorneys might look at the wording and come to a different interpretation.

That seat just got that much more hot. He’s sweating now. I figure he is gone after the auburn game. I wish he could have gotten it done here, but saw this coming from the end of last season.

Good job Mr Jones ! Appreciate the effort extended to clarify this issue. WPS

I have trouble reading my own contracts much less somebody else’s

Pretty sure he has known all along what the buyout is. About the only additional heat it would cause is extra heat from people wanting him gone at $6 million that didn’t at 11 or 15.

I doubt that increases the outcry much (or more importantly sways the powers that be and/or the big $ people that will be paying for it, and all knew what the real #s are).

Right, what I’m referring to is now people will say the buyout isn’t enough of a reason to keep him around.

This changes my opinion of whether Jeff Long did a bad thing with the buyout.

Not that a bad of one.

This - I’ve talked to several people and read many posters on this board say something to the effect of " well, no matter what their record is they can’t afford to pay a $15mm buyout" or " the buyout drops to $11mm after the first of the year, but that’s too late to fire him."

Problems solved…check that…they never were problems to begin with.

Is it not strange that his deal only pays through 2020? I’ve always believed a coach’s contract was for a minimum of 5 years for recruiting purposes.

Is it standard for all programs to use 3 years for buyout calculations?

Interesting and really means extended deals are not so extended after all.

Is that defined as well? Is it from coaching or from all sources such as maybe working as a TV analyst, endorsements, etc?