Bret Bielema’s buyout deal with the Razorback Foundation reportedly included a significant amount of money.
As reported by the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s Eric Besson and Aziza Musa, the agreement between the foundation and Arkansas’ former coach set his buyout at $15.4 million if the school fired him in 2017. A copy of the agreement was released to the newspaper late Thursday after an open-records request.
However, Besson and Musa reported that Scott Varady, the foundation’s executive director, wrote in an email that “we continue to work with Coach Bielema’s agent on the final release agreement. We have not completed that process yet.”
Here’s more from the story:
Former University of Arkansas, Fayetteville football Coach Bret Bielema’s deal with the Razorback Foundation set his buyout at $15.4 million if the university fired him in 2017, according to a copy of the agreement released late Thursday under the state’s open-records law.
That number matches an amount listed in Bielema’s public employment contract with the university, which fired him Nov. 24 at the conclusion of a 4-8 season.
The employment contract with the university included language saying that figure was to be plugged into a formula to determine the “total [buyout] payment,” which equated to about $5.9 million, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette previously reported.
But Bielema’s agreement with the Razorback Foundation does not mention a formula, instead saying “the amount specified in this paragraph shall be the total amount that will be paid.” The nonprofit, funded by donors to support university athletics, is responsible for the final agreement with Bielema and for paying his severance.
The details regarding the buyout for Bielema, who went 29-34 in five seasons at Arkansas, have been a point of confusion in recent weeks. ESPN’s Mark Schlabach has reported that Bielema would receive $11.8 million of the buyout money. Per Schlabach, some members that serve on Arkansas’ board of trustees argued that the university owed Bielema only $5 million to $6 million left on his deal while Bielema’s attorney argued for the full $15.4 million buyout.
The most recent report seems to suggests the issue remains unresolved between all relevant parties.
Bielema buyout terms revealed after AG opinion https://t.co/FPHfmgUvIq "Bielema's deal with the Razorback Foundation set his buyout at $15.4 million if the university fired him in 2017, according to a copy of the agreement released Thursday under the state's open-records law." pic.twitter.com/reNN62Zrr0
— NWA Democrat-Gazette (@nwademgaz) December 29, 2017