The former head coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks is suing the nonprofit fundraising arm of the athletic department connected to his former employer the University of Arkansas, for $7 million. SI senior writer has more on the developments between Bielema and the Razorback Foundation.
On Friday, Bret Bielema, another former coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks, dropped a $7 million lawsuit on the Razorback Foundation, the nonprofit fundraising arm of the athletic department that paid his salary. This all goes back to a dispute about whether or not Bielema tried his hardest to get a high-paying job, basically. Which would have allowed Arkansas to offset his very large buyout. And that's really the crux of all this, is the size of the buyout and a problem throughout college sports, is athletic directors get out over their skis and reward coaches for mediocre performance with contract extensions, raises, and very large buyouts that put the athletic departments in difficult position. That's what happened with Bielema. He went 7-6 in his second year and they won the Texas Bowl, and so they gave him a new contract with a bigger buyout. Not really the kind of performance that should've earned it, but that's the way things tend to go in college sports. They ended up having to pay a lot of money when they wanted him to go away after his fifth year.
Now, the person that was the athletic director gave him that was Jeff Long, who the Razorbacks also fired. And he had a $4 million buyout. Now, he went to Kansas shortly thereafter. And so the buyout was mitigated. Then after they got rid of Bielema, they hired new athletic director, obviously, and they hired Chad Morris as the next football coach. They bought him out after two years because he was a terrible hire. They owed him $10 million. That was offset a little bit by him going to Auburn as offensive coordinator. But still, the cycle went on and on as bad football costing big dollars to the University of Arkansas. We'll see if Sam Pittman, the next coach, manages to break that cycle. But for now, Arkansas caught in a very costly period here because it can't seem to get the right guy to coach its football program.