Razorback Foundation Enforces Contract, No Payments to Bret Bielema in 2019


Razorback Foundation Enforces Contract, No Payments to Bret Bielema in 2019
Bret Bielema and wife Jen. (File) (Ryan Miller)

The Razorback Foundation has not made a monthly buyout payment to former University of Arkansas Head Football Coach Bret Bielema in 2019 on the theory that Bielema breached his duty to seek a new job, a source familiar with the situation told Arkansas Business.

The foundation's executive director, Scott Varady, confirmed Wednesday that the foundation is enforcing the terms of its 2019 buyout agreement with Bielema, who has been named defensive line coach for the New England Patriots after working with the NFL powerhouse on an unpaid basis for more than a year.

In response to an inquiry from Arkansas Business, Varady released this statement:

"Consistent with normal practice, the Razorback Foundation is in communication with Coach Bret Bielema's representatives regarding our agreement. The Razorback Foundation is enforcing its agreement with Coach Bielema to protect the interests of our members and the organization."

Varady did not specifically confirm that payments had been withheld. But when the buyout, effective Nov. 25, 2017, was announced in January 2018, the foundation said the maximum payout of $11.935 million was "subject to Coach Bielema's affirmative obligation to find other employment."

Bielema was "terminated for convenience" by the UA at the end of the 2017 regular football season, and his "release and waiver agreement" called for up to 37 monthly payments of $320,833.33. The foundation has the right to reduce its monthly payments based on Bielema's earnings during the term of the agreement, which expires Dec. 31, 2020.