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Power 5 Schools Have Committed to $55M In Football Coaching Buyouts

  • Five Power 5 coaches have lost their jobs this season, but they received multimillion-dollar buyouts.
  • The payouts are another example of increasingly gargantuan coaching contracts.
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

One of the easiest ways to get rich in 2022 is to get fired from a Power 5 football head coaching position.

Since this season began, five coaches have lost their jobs — each earning buyouts that, in aggregate, total $55 million. 

Wisconsin’s Paul Chryst was the latest to get the ax after the Badgers lost to Illinois. His contract stipulated a $19.5 million buyout — but the athletic department negotiated a lower fee of $11 million.

The rest of the buyouts include:

  • Scott Frost, Nebraska: $15M 
  • Geoff Collins, Georgia Tech: $11.37M 
  • Herm Edwards, Arizona State: $9.4M
  • Karl Dorrell, Colorado: $8.7M

Since the College Football Playoff began in 2015, buyouts have gone up three-fold, according to Knight Commission-Newhouse data. 

Some advocates believe athletic departments could better spend their revenues elsewhere. The Knight Commission suggests investing in athlete education, health and safety, gender equity, and development. Others say football players should get a chunk of the funds.

But so far, multiple attempts to reform the system have failed.

A lawsuit found that attempting to cap NCAA coaching salaries would be an antitrust violation. A congressional investigation into whether athletic departments are violating nonprofit status has so far not yielded any punishments. And a Knight Commission suggestion to implement a coaching “luxury tax” has also been met with crickets.

Whether or not it’s possible, Knight Commission CEO Amy Perko argued something needs to change. “The multimillion-dollar buyouts for football coaches is just another glaring symptom of a warped financial model that places a premium on spending for competitive advantage,” she said.

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