When Arkansas eventually pulled the trigger on firing former head coach Bret Bielema, much of the discussion around the decision centered on the massive buyout he was owed — on the order of some $12 million. That’s a lot of money for any program to eat but, as it turns out, the Razorbacks may not wind up parting with that entire amount of cash when all is said and done.
How is that possible? Well, the school has apparently decided to simply stop paying Bielema as part of a contract dispute with the ex-coach and his agent per the Arkansas Democrat Gazette:
It has become fairly common knowledge that the Razorback Foundation, with the blessing of the University of Arkansas, decided former head coach Bret Bielema was not living up to his end of the contract.
His contract called for him to actively pursue another job.
Instead, Bielema became a volunteer for the New England Patriots for more than a year. Then it was announced he would become the defensive line coach for the Patriots in 2019.
So instead of dropping $12 million in 37 equal payments though 2020, the school will have instead paid out just over $4 million to part ways with Bielema. That’s good news for the school and not great news for their former and current head coach (Chad Morris‘ buyout is in the $10 million range after a 4-15 start to his tenure in Fayetteville)
Naturally, Bielema and his agent (Neil Cornrich) are none to happy at the development and loss of a significant chunk of change and are going to court over the buyout and what the coach did or did not do in terms of fulfilling some of his obligations to mitigate or pursue other jobs. While it’s not known how far along the legal proceedings are, something says this has the potential to get ugly given what’s at stake for both sides.