Buyouts are all the rage in college football coaching contracts. New Texas head coach Tom Herman has a big one to take care of at Houston: $2.5 million dollars. Typically the outgoing coach won’t pay, but the amount gets taken care of by the new school he’s going to. And it’s also not often a lump sum payment, but dollar amounts over time on a schedule.
“We’re not negotiating the value, the value is 2.5, and so Texas will pay,” Houston AD Hunter Yurachek says. “We gave them an option for a home and home basketball and football series if we wanted to agree to the value of those two entities and reduce it off the 2.5.”
Yurachek said that Texas AD Mike Perrin told him that is not an option, and that they just want to pay straight cash. Texas’ football schedule does have openings in 2020-22 as well as 2024 and beyond, but opting to just pay is probably easier. There also could be a tinge of bad blood due to the most recent time the Longhorns played at Houston.
And the last time the ‘Horns played the Cougars in Houston, inspections revealed that 4,150 temporary bleacher seats installed for the game were unsafe for fans. Texas had asked for extra tickets for the game and requested a change in venue following the decrease in seating capacity, but Houston refused.
Houston’s president bragged at a holiday party last week that UH has created a fairly consistent revenue stream out of hiring up-and-coming young coaches, and making sure the buyouts protect them fiscally as they leave the Cougars program.
"Think about our business model. We hired the best, got the best out of them and made money on the exit," she said to cheers. "That's our business model."
When Sumlin left, either he or Texas A&M paid Houston $600,000, thanks to his buyout clause. When Briles left in 2007, the school was owed $300,000. As a testament to the rising cost of everything in college athletics, the real windfall came from Herman’s buyout, which was a reported $2.5 million.
New Houston head coach Major Applewhite’s contract details were reported by ESPN as: “5 years with an average salary of $1.5 million per year. Buyout if Applewhite leaves is remaining value of contract and goes up by 50% if he goes to another school in Texas.”