Bielema’s buyout much less than $15.4 million?

Photo from ESPN

Apparently it takes a lawyer to make heads and tails of employment contracts at the University of Arkansas these days.

Especially when it comes to coaches.

What has been widely reported as a $15.4 million buyout, is considerably less, according to a story in WholeHogSports.com earlier today.

Based on an evaluation of the contract by legal counsel for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Bielema would be owed a little less than $5.9 million in buyout payments if dismissed at the end of the season.

That is a total that changes the tone of the entire situation surrounding Arkansas football that right now is in trouble, whether anybody in Fayetteville wants to admit it or not.

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The buyout owed to Bielema is decreasing by about $159,000 per month based on language and figures included in his original employment agreement, according to the story.

The $15.4 million buyout number widely reported is a number used only as the basis to calculate the actual buyout figure. The amount used to calculate Bielema’s buyout on Jan. 1 drops to $11.7 million.

The explanation, as outlined in the story at WholeHogSports:

Bielema’s actual buyout is determined by a formula included within the language of his original deal, which was made effective Dec. 4, 2012, and signed the next August.

It uses the $15.4 million figure as a numerator and divides that by the total number of months (97) in the full term of his contract. That figure of $158,762.88, called the “monthly value of the total guaranty payment,” would then be multiplied by the remaining number of months on the contract, which runs through Dec. 31, 2020.

Based on that equation, Arkansas would owe Bielema about $5.874 million to terminate his contract after the season concludes Nov. 24, plus a prorated amount for any partial months of employment.

That figure would be offset by the gross amount of any salary earned by Bielema through December 2020 — including for consulting or administrative jobs in college football or the NFL — or any work outside of coaching, such as a side business.

The buyout money owed to Bielema would be paid on a monthly basis as a guaranty of The Razorback Foundation, the fundraising arm of the UA athletics department, or a financially responsible third party arranged by the university, per the contract.

If those numbers are accurate (and there’s absolutely no reason not believe it’s not completely accurate), then there is no financial hurdle to dumping Bielema.

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If Jeff Long uses finances as a reason, then he’s making stuff up to justify not pulling the trigger.

Assistant coaches payouts, per the story, would be just under $2 million.