Monday, 26 November 2012

The Contractual Implications of Auburn Firing Gene Chizik

As many had predicted over the last few weeks, Auburn University announced on Sunday that it was firing head coach Gene Chizik just two years after he led the Tigers to an undefeated season and BCS national championship.  Because the school decided 17 months ago to give Chizik a contract extension through 2015, Auburn is now on the hook for an expensive buyout of its football coaching staff.  Specifically, Chizik is owed a total of $7.5 million -- to be paid in monthly installments of $208,334 for each of the next 36 months -- pursuant to the early termination clause in his contract.  Had he not been fired, Chizik would have received an additional $3 million over the life of his contract.  However, because many of his assistant coaches were also given guaranteed contracts (in some cases running through June 2014), the total cost of the buyout for Auburn will actually exceed $11 million.

Anticipating Chizik's likely termination, the Columbus (GA) Ledger-Enquirer explored Auburn's contractual commitments to its football coaching staff, as well as the general trends in football coaches' buyout provisions nationally, in a story last week.  Here is an excerpt:
A June 2011 release by Win AD stated of the coaches who were dismissed in 2010 or 2011 with buyout clauses written into their contracts, 70 percent of those buyouts were based on their remaining total or base salary.

The other 30 percent were guaranteed a partial take on their full salary -- either a certain amount of money per month or year remaining on the contract, a percentage of the remaining base salary, or one year's total or base salary.
You can check out the full story (including quotes from myself and Rick Karcher) by clicking here.

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