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Why Kevin Sumlin's $10.4 million Texas A&M buyout is even better (for him) than it sounds

Most coach buyouts get smaller if the coach finds another job. Sumlin’s does not.

NCAA Football: New Mexico at Texas A&M C. Morgan Engel-USA TODAY Sports

Texas A&M officially fired head football coach Kevin Sumlin on Sunday, ending his six-year run in College Station. It’s never fun to get fired, but Sumlin at least has one of the most coach-friendly buyouts in the sport to ease his pain.

In the majority of college coaching contracts, there’s language to protect the university if it fires the coach without cause — i.e., for losing too many games. The language will say something like, “If the coach takes another job working in football, the university’s payment obligations to him will decrease by that amount.” The coach is often required to make “reasonable” efforts to get hired after he’s been fired.

Sumlin has a big buyout. It’s $10.4 million, which equals what A&M owed him to coach out his contract through 2019. But, unusually, there’s no offset language.

Here’s the relevant passage from Sumlin’s 2013 extension:

Unless A&M’s hidden away a clause somewhere nobody’s found it, Sumlin’s going to get paid every cent A&M owes him. The Aggies will be paying full freight for two head coaches at once: a couple million a year for Sumlin, and a similar amount for whomever the school hires as his replacement. That also means Sumlin would collect two coaching salaries if he took another job in the months or years to come.

As an added perk, Sumlin’s buyout is due to him within 60 days of Sunday.