Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 24 No. 156

Colleges

The Univ. of Florida on Thursday hired Colorado State football coach Jim McElwain, and as part of CSU's contract with him, the school received a total buyout of $7M, including $5M in cash. The buyout is the largest in college football history, eclipsing the $4.3M Texas paid Louisville to hire away coach Charlie Strong earlier this year. In addition to the cash portion of the buyout, CSU will be paid $2M to play a football game at Florida, which has not yet been scheduled. The $7M total payment to CSU is 93% of the buyout value of the contract with McElwain (CSU). In Colorado, Kelly Lyell notes CSU will receive $3M "over a six-year period" from UF's athletic department, $2M "directly from McElwain over an unspecified period of time" and a $2M guarantee from Florida for the yet-to-be-scheduled game. McElwain "signed a six-year deal with Florida with a total compensation package" that averages $3.5M a year. His "base salary at CSU" was $1.5M (Ft. Collins COLORADOAN, 12/5). In Orlando, Edgar Thompson noted McElwain's original CSU contract "stated if he were to leave, the buyout would be due within 30 days." Meanwhile, UF "already owes" recently fired coach Will Muschamp and his staff more than $8M, with $6M due to Muschamp. He will receive $2M per year "for the life of the contract, which expires" after the '17 season (ORLANDOSENTINEL.com, 12/4). SI.com's Andy Staples noted McElwain "agreed to a 10-year contract extension this summer" at CSU that included a $7.5M buyout. It also "included language that suggested the buyout could be negotiated down if a 'dream job' came along." This was "an odd addition to the contract, because a university always has the option to reduce or waive a buyout owed to it" (SI.com, 12/4).

ABOUT THAT NEW FORT? CSU said that its haul in McElwain's departure "is around a fifth of the athletic department’s annual budget." CSU President Tony Frank said that the buyout money "will enable the school to hire a suitable replacement." He added that the McElwain buyout "has no bearing" on the school's proposed stadium project (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 12/5). In Denver, Terry Frei notes Frank is scheduled to meet with the CSU system BOG in Denver on Friday "to formally deliver his recommendation to move ahead with the on-campus stadium project." Frank on Thursday said, "The stadium is a long-term decision for the university that goes well beyond one individual. I will be making my same recommendation to the board tomorrow as scheduled." Frei notes CSU "now is operating with both" an interim AD and an interim head football coach in John Morris and Dave Baldwin, respectively (DENVER POST, 12/5).

BUILT RAM TOUGH: In Denver, Mark Kiszla writes the new CSU football stadium "will be the House that Mac Built" thanks to his buyout. Frank deserves "credit ... for being a tough negotiator" (DENVER POST, 12/5). YAHOO SPORTS' Pat Forde wrote Florida luring McElwain from CSU "was a classic power move, another manifestation of the Darwinian landscape in modern college sports," in which "the strongest take what they want, and those down the food chain are expected to meekly submit." But Frank "wasn’t ready to be steamrolled" and now has a $7M agreement "as a result of showing some bartering backbone." McElwain and his agent, CAA's Jimmy Sexton, "never believed CSU would hold firm when the big boys came calling." But Sexton "clearly miscalculated." His "renowned clout ran up against Tony Frank’s resolve, and the ensuing standoff was fascinating" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 12/4). The AP's Pat Graham wrote CSU was able to "put a positive spin on losing a coach who has turned around a downtrodden program" by touting the buyout as the largest ever (AP, 12/4).

FOLEY'S FOLLY? The ORLANDO SENTINEL's Thompson reports UF AD Jeremy Foley and his top administrators "were told by several people they could negotiate to reduce the buyout." But discussions "did not go so smoothly and it didn't help that they played out in the national spotlight" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 12/5). In Jacksonville, Gene Frenette writes it would have "been a total embarrassment for Foley to lose" McElwain "over misunderstanding the buyout provision of his contract." Foley "must hit something close to a home run or his prevailing legacy with the Gators will be striking out on three of his four football coaches" (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 12/5).

COACHING BUYOUTS OVER THE LAST THREE SEASONS
COACH
FROM
TO
BUYOUT
Jim McElwain
Colorado State
Florida
$5M*
Charlie Strong
Louisville
Texas
$4.375M
Brian Harsin
Arkansas State
Boise State
$1.75M
James Franklin
Vanderbilt
Penn State
$1.5M
Steve Sarkisian
Washington
USC
$1.5M
Butch Jones
Cincinnati
Tennessee
$1.4M
Bobby Petrino
Western Kentucky
Louisville
$1.2M
Bret Bielema
Wisconsin
Arkansas
$1M
Todd Graham
Pittsburgh
Arizona State
$1M
Tommy Tuberville
Texas Tech
Cincinnati
$900,000
       

CHART NOTE: * = Deal includes promise of Colorado State-Florida football game in Gainesville, for which CSU will be paid an additional $2M.

HEAD HUSKER: In Portland, Mike Tokito wrote Oregon State football coach Mike Riley's departure for Nebraska on Thursday "had one major benefit for Oregon State: It got the Beavers out from under the long contract they had with him." Riley was "believed to be the lowest-paid coach in the Pac-12" with a salary of $1.5M, but he "had something no other coach could touch: a practically lifetime deal." Riley's contract as part of an extension signed in '10 "included a provision that an additional year would be added each time the Beavers made a bowl game." The contract "was extended all the way" to '21. What made Riley's original contract with OSU in '03 "unique was the provision Riley insisted be written into it." He asked that a $1M buyout "be required if he left OSU in the first five seasons." The buyout "dropped to $725,000 in the sixth year, and $500,000 -- the amount Nebraska will pay OSU for Riley leaving -- in subsequent years" (OREGONLIVE.com, 12/4).

{podcast}

SBJ's David Broughton and Brandon McClung talk about the annual college bowl gifts list

Hair dryers, aloha shirts and belt buckles return as bowl gifts this season, but new to the roster are pylons and custom-made Fatheads, according to SportsBusiness Daily/Journal’s annual gift package rundown. All told, at least $5.4M will be spent on gifts that will be given to the '14-15 bowl game participants, up 11% compared with the expenditures of a year ago. The increase is fueled in part by the addition of several new bowls. In addition, two-thirds of the bowl game committees will be staging the increasingly popular gift suites or shopping sprees in the coming weeks, up from half the committees a year ago. The NCAA allows each bowl to award up to $550 worth of gifts to 125 participants per school. Schools can, and usually do, buy additional gifts that they can distribute to participants beyond that 125 limit. In addition, participants can receive awards worth up to $400 from the school and up to $400 from the conference for postseason play, covering both conference title games and bowl games.

SOUNDS SUITE: Gift suites are set up as private events prior to the game in which game participants, and often bowl VIPs, are given an order form and allowed to select a gift, or gifts, up to a value that is predetermined by each bowl, not to exceed the NCAA limit. Roughly half the suites take place in the bowl’s host city, while the others are staged by the game’s committee on the campus of a participating college. Such will be the case for the teams taking part in the inaugural Popeyes Bahamas Bowl. Complete Sports Management Founder & President Lea Miller, whose firm operates the Bahamas Bowl, said that rather than deal with the taxes, customs and tariffs that would have been involved with getting gifts shipped to the islands, or hosting a suite on-site, it will be easier to host the events on the campuses of the respective schools playing in the game.

MORE FROM THE NEW KIDS: This year’s new bowl games in Boca Raton, Fla., and Montgomery, Ala., also opted for gift suites for their inaugural offerings. The other two new, non-championship game committees opted to negotiate with vendors on their own. The Miami Beach Bowl, which is run by the American Athletic Conference and has a six-year rental agreement at Marlins Park, is providing players with, among other things, items from Under Armour, a top-tier corporate partner of the committee. The Quick Lane Bowl, which is run by the Lions, will be providing each participant in that game a custom-made Fathead with the player’s likeness. Fathead is based in Detroit.

OLDIES, BUT GOODIES: The hair dryer (Hyundai Sun Bowl in El Paso), belt buckle (AdvoCare Texas Bowl in Houston) and aloha shirts (Hawaii Bowl in Honolulu) are long-standing gifts from the bowl committees in those respective cities. While a spokesperson for the New Era Pinstripe Bowl would not disclose the contents of that game’s gift packages, New Era officials said that bowl participants will receive a selection of the company’s products. Similarly, Goodyear Cotton Bowl reps would not disclose the contents of their gift packages. Organizers of the College Football Playoff national championship game also declined to provide details, but a spokesperson for the event said those participating players would not be visiting a gift suite -- as the committee knows that all the participants coming to that game would have already had that experience at the national semifinal games (Rose Bowl and Allstate Sugar Bowl) in the preceding days.

EVENT
GIFT
SUITE?
GIFT(S)
R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
Yes
Fossil watch
Gildan New Mexico Bowl
Yes
AudioSource Sound portable/mobile speaker; mobile phone charger; Oakley Works backpack; Oakley Enduro sunglasses/beanie; cap; Gildan blanket
Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl
Yes
Oakley Works backpack
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
Yes
Ohio backpack; winter coat; winter gloves; winter beanie; Big Game football
Raycom Media Camellia Bowl
Yes
Fossil watch; cap; souvenir pylon; football
Miami Beach Bowl
No
Under Armour sunglasses; Under Armour cap;
Oakley Halifax backpack; electronics product
Boca Raton Bowl
Yes
n/a
San Diego County
Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl
No
$395 Best Buy gift card; Fossil watch; cap
Popeyes Bahamas Bowl
Yes
Ogio Marshall Pack backpack; New Era 39Thirty cap
Hawaii Bowl
Yes
Oakley Holbrook sunglasses; Oakley Works backpack; Tori Richard aloha shirt; Pro Athletics t-shirt/shorts/swim trunks; beach towel
Zaxby's Heart of Dallas Bowl
Yes
Ogio Marshall Pack backpack; beanie; Big Game football
Quick Lane Bowl
No
$250 Best Buy gift card; Sony headphones; custom-made Fathead for each player with their likeness; various apparel; football
Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl
Yes
Oakley Breadbox sunglasses; Oakley Works backpack
Military Bowl
No
Microsoft Xbox One console; Under Armour backpack; Might Boom Ball speakers; beanie
Hyundai Sun Bowl
Yes
Timely Watch Co. watch; Ogio Politan backpack;
Helen of Troy hair dryer; Majestic fleece pullover; Top of the World cap
Duck Commander
Independence Bowl
Yes
Timely Watch Co. watch; New Era ski cap; football
New Era Pinstripe Bowl
No
Variety of New Era products
National University
Holiday Bowl
No
$445 Best Buy gift card and shopping trip; Fossil watch; cap
AutoZone Liberty Bowl
No
Sol Republic Deck Ultra wireless bluetooth speaker; Bulova watch; Nike athletic shoes/sport sandals/backpack; game ball
Russell Athletic Bowl
No
$447 Best Buy gift card and shopping trip; watch; athletic performance shirt
AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl
Yes
adidas Team Speed duffel bag; cap; belt buckle
Franklin American Mortgage
Music City Bowl
Yes
Fossil watch
Belk Bowl
No
Shopping trip to Belk department store; Fossil watch
Foster Farms Bowl
Yes
Fossil watch
Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl
No
$300 Vanilla Visa gift card; Chick-fil-A gift card; Apple TV; Fossil watch; football
Vizio Fiesta Bowl
Yes
Fossil watch; Ogio Rogue backpack
Capital One Orange Bowl
Yes
Tourneau watch
Outback Bowl
No
$150 Best Buy gift card; Outback Steakhouse gift card; Fossil watch; Jostens rings; cap
Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic
n/a
Information not available; bowl committee would not disclose
Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl
No
$447 Best Buy gift card and shopping trip; watch; athletic performance shirt
Rose Bowl
Yes
Fossil watch; Oakley Works backpack; New Era 59Fifty cap
Allstate Sugar Bowl
Yes
Fossil watch; New Era cap
Lockheed Martin
Armed Forces Bowl
Yes
Ogio Marshall Pack backpack; beanie; Big Game football
TaxSlayer Bowl
Yes
Panasonic gift suite; Fossil watch
Valero Alamo Bowl
No
GoPro Hero4 Silver camera and 32 GB memory card; Fossil watch; Oakley Works backpack; Schutt mini helmet; panoramic photo
TicketCity Cactus Bowl
Yes
Fossil watch; Ogio Rogue backpack
Birmingham Bowl
Yes
Oakley sunglasses; beanie; hooded sweatshirt; Big Game football
GoDaddy Bowl
No
Sol Republic Tracks Air wireless/bluetooth on-ear headphones; watch; Coleman chair; military style backpack; Wilson football
CFP Championship game
n/a
Information not available; bowl committee would not disclose
     

NOTES: Product details are provided as they were available as of Dec. 4. Most watches, rings, clothing, luggage and footballs are custom-made with the bowl logo. Gift suites are set up as private events in which game participants, and often bowl VIPs, are given an order form and allowed to select a gift, or gifts, up to a value that is predetermined by each specific bowl, not to exceed the NCAA limit of $550 per person.