by Chris Bahn
Posted 12/5/2012 10:42 am
Updated 2 years ago
New University of Arkansas football coach Bret Bielema has signed a letter of agreement that will pay him $3.2 million annually for six years.
Outlined in the 14-page document, posted in full at the end of this story, is a buyout for firing Bielema that starts at $12.8 million in the first year and drops to $3.2 million in year six.
Bielema, who will be introduced as coach at 4 p.m. Wednesday news conference at the Broyles Center in Fayetteville, would owe the UA between $3 million and $500,000 if he chooses to leave over the course of his contract.
The deal also includes a no-compete clause probibiting him from leaving for other Southeastern Conference schools.
Buyout totals drop by $500,000 annually.
Athletic and academic achievement incentives built into the contract for Bielema, who was earning $2.6 million annually at Wisconsin, could pay an additional $700,000. Included among the bonus options:
- A $350,000 payout for winning the national championship.
- A $300,000 payout for appearing in the national championship.
- A $200,000 payout for appearing in a semifinal playoff game (beginning in 2014)
- A $150,000 payout for appearing in a non-title BCS game
- A $100,000 payout for appearing in the Capital One or Cotton Bowls
- A $50,000 payout for any bowl game appearance
- A $25,000 payout for winning SEC Coach of the year
- A $25,000 payout for winning national coach of the year
- Up to $200,000 can be earned for academic achievements
Arkansas will also make arrangements to pay Wisconsin the $1 million buyout that Bielema owes for leaving the Badgers.
Bielema's contract will easily make him the top-paid state employee in Arkansas. A fellow UA employee, men's basketball coach Mike Anderson, will likely rank second. Anderson's total compensation for the current fiscal year is more than $1.6 million.
Bielema, who comes to Arkansas after seven seasons with the Badgers, replaces John L. Smith, who was under a 10-month, $850,000 contract with Arkansas. Smith was hired in April to replace Bobby Petrino, who was fired for lying about the details of a motorcyle crash and hiring his mistress to a football staff position.
Petrino earned $3.56 million annually with the Razorbacks. He was fired for cause and owed none of the $18 million buyout in his contract.
Bielema was 68-24 at Wisconsin. His record included winning three consecutive BCS berths, guiding the Badgers to the Rose Bowl.