Charlie Weis buyout could cost Notre Dame $19 million

Mike DiNovo-US PRESSWIRE

It's pretty hilarious that Notre Dame owes Charlie Weis -- whom the school fired over three seasons ago -- $8 million more over the next four seasons, but it's still in pretty good shape.

Remember Charlie Weis, the guy who coached Kansas to a 1-11 record this season? Notre Dame certainly remembers him, because years after it fired him after going 16-21 over the course of three years with the Fighting Irish, it still owes him money. Lots of money. Per Brian Hamilton of the Chicago Tribune:

Weis received another buyout payment of $2,054,744 as part of the separation agreement for his firing in 2009, bringing the total amount paid to the ousted Irish coach and current Kansas head coach to nearly $10.8 million, according to federal tax documents the school provided the Tribune on Thursday. It is the second consecutive payment of $2,054,744 to Weis after the initial payment of $6,638,403 after his firing. The university is scheduled for "additional annual payments" through Dec. 2015, so four more installments of the same $2 million-plus figure would bring the total to $18,966,867.

Earlier this year, we wrote about how Charlie Weis was the most overpaid coach in the country this past season if we went by moneys received per win. Although it's quite silly that Kansas paid a coach who has never had any real success at the college level $2.5 million for a campaign wherein he won only one game, at least Charlie Weis was in Lawrence showing up to work every day and trying as hard as Charlie Weis could to win football games.

Weis hasn't been on campus in South Bend since the 2009 season, and they're still going to have to deal with this through 2015. Ugly.

There's good news for Notre Dame, though. First, the guy it brought in to replace Weis, Brian Kelly, is a relative bargain. Kelly has roughly brought them twice the success Weis ever did in half the time, and the school gave him just $1.088 million for the same time frame that they just paid Weis $2.054 million. (Kelly likely made more for his 12-1 2012 season, due to bonuses.)

That was less than the total compensation for both men's basketball coach Mike Brey and women's basketball coach Muffet McGraw. Yeah, the guy in charge of Notre Dame football, a worldwide famous brand, made less money in a fiscal year than the coach of Notre Dame women's basketball, which is a pretty damn good women's basketball team, but not as big a moneymaker. That's a bargain on Kelly. They extended him in early 2012 and he turned down the NFL in January to stay with the Irish, so they've likely upped his earnings, but still.

But the best news is that they can actually afford to do this. Iowa has a similarly prohibitive buyout for Kirk Ferentz that would see it owe the coach about $2 million a year through 2020 if it fired him. But they're not going to do that, so they're stuck with a guy who led the team to a 4-8 record this past year. As noted in February, his seat is cold as ice. Southern Miss fired Ellis Johnson after one dismal 0-12 season and was stuck with a $2.1 million buyout, forcing it to swap out a home game against Nebraska -- a unique opportunity for the program, both financially and in terms of on-field product -- for a trip to Lincoln that's guaranteed to be a lopsided loss. Idaho is squabbling with former coach Robb Akey over $100,000 from his buyout.

To Notre Dame, all that is chicken scratch. The Irish were financially able to do what they needed to in order to be successful, football-wise, no matter how much we can laugh at them for paying Charlie Weis $19 million to not coach their team.

Now let's laugh as hard as we can about the fact that Notre Dame is paying Charlie Weis -- CHARLIE DAMN WEIS -- $19 million -- 19 MILLION DAMN DOLLARS -- to not coach its team through 2015, which is abso-friggin-lutely hilarious.

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