SBD/December 6, 2012/Colleges

Parting Gifts: "OTL" Addresses Schools Paying Large Buyouts To Fired Coaches

As numerous high-profile colleges have recently fired their football coaches this season, schools have been forced to pay out millions of dollars in contract obligations. Syndicated radio host Paul Finebaum said Auburn firing football coach Gene Chizik just two years removed from winning the National Championship from a distance “looks like a bad decision, but up close it was a necessary evil, particularly because of Nick Saban." Finebaum: "If you keep a coach and it doesn’t work, yes, you’ve saved $11 million ... but you have fallen farther behind. It sounds bad, but happens on Wall Street every day of the week.” ESPN’s Jeremy Schaap said those moves are “held accountable” by corporate BODs and shareholders, so are there “any consequences here for the presidents and ADs who make these bad hires and then the universities are in the hole for millions and millions of dollars?” ESPN’s Darren Rovell said, “I am surprised that the athletic directors are not more often held accountable. To tell you the truth, over the last seven to 10 years as this has become more of a professional business, as the big-time agents have come to represent these coaches, ADs have gotten killed in contract negotiation time. ... When you see what some of these agents get for these guys, it is unbelievable.” Northeastern Univ. AD Peter Roby said, “I thought we were in the business of higher education and so rather than worrying about what Alabama is doing, why isn’t Auburn and other schools worried about what’s in the best interests of the students and the institution with respect to educating young people? We have got schools leaving conferences, getting out of relationships, severing relationships, suing each other.” Finebaum replied, “The reality is we are talking about professional sports” (“Outside The Lines,” ESPN, 12/5).

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