There’s a lot of money involved with college football, it’s an expensive business, we all know this. The amount of money schools fork out to coaching staffs and then pay out when they fire a coach, is astronomical. So, learning that Auburn’s recent coaching change will cost around $73 million isn’t a complete shock, but the breakdown of how the Tigers got in the hole they’re in is pretty astonishing.
Auburn parted ways with Gus Malzahn and hired Bryan Harsin from Boise State after the Tigers went 6-4 in 2020. The kicker here is that Auburn signed Malzahn to a huge seven-year contract following the 2017 season. Given how his contract was set up, Malzahn was owed over $21 million as part of his buyout, plus, the school had to pay him half of that sum within 30 days of his firing, according to AL.com.
In total, Auburn owed Malzahn and his coaching staff over $28.5 million in buyouts. Then you add in the firing of Gene Chizik before Malzahn and his staff were hired plus Chizik’s buyout later on, and the school was on the hook for over $36 million with those changes. With that, it’s pretty simple to add up a tab of over $70 million.
AL.com obtained public records that showed Auburn’s buyouts and the hiring of Harsin and his staff “will cost more than $73 million when accounting for full value of new staff’s contracts and the buyouts.”
SEC football programs have access to money trees, clearly.
Auburn felt it was time to make another coaching change, and they clearly believe they have the funds and boosters to pull pay for all of these changes, but $73 million to flip a coaching staff that has the joy of playing Nick Saban’s Alabama and the rest of the SEC West year after year is quite the bill to foot.