Skip past Dean Legge’s to get to what’s important.
According to published reports, terminating Schottenheimer’s contract would result in the Bulldogs being forced to pay the remaining $1,914,400 the two sides agreed to in January. Pruitt’s contract is structured the same way, but there is no talk of him being let go.
Richt’s contract, on the other hand, is more complicated. The most current extension agreement has either not yet been signed, which has been a practice that’s gone on under McGarity for one reason or another, or has not yet been requested and therefore released under Freedom of Information laws.
With that said, according to the contract that is public, Richt would be due $66,000 per month through the end of 2019. That’s at least a $3,168,000 buyout for Richt alone. Terminating Richt would also certainly trigger the termination of Schottenheimer ($1,914,400) and likely Pruitt ($2,600,000). UGA-Richt-Mark-2012-16-contract.pdf
That means if the extension Richt agreed to – the one that is not public has the same clause for compensation for termination without cause – then dismissing Richt after the 2015 would cost Georgia at least $7,682,400 as it stands today. That would be Richt, Pruitt and Schottenheimer all gone.
It could be done, sure, but that’s not a small amount of money.
For those of you who don’t think that’s a big deal for the athletic director and president, given Georgia’s resources, all I can say is that it’s easy to be dismissive when you’re not the one writing the checks.
Here’s the other thing to remember about being in their shoes. After the bowl game – and much to our satisfaction at the time – they bought into Richt and the program big time. To pull the plug less than one year later is not only an expensive proposition, but it also calls into question their judgment in agreeing to those contracts in the first place. Add to that what it will likely cost to get the kind of coach that will calm the waters for a fractious fan base (not to mention what happens down the road if the next hire doesn’t click, either) and you’re talking some serious jack. And serious questioning about their decision making comes with that territory.
Now, if the big money boys are grumbling as much as is being reported in the media, then maybe McGarity can reach into some deep pockets from those who are willing to put their money where their mouths are and cushion the financial blow to the reserve fund. But that doesn’t get away from the difficulty of the fire/hire decision itself; indeed, it’s likely to intensify it because those same folks are going to feel they’re entitled to some real say in it.
That’s not to predict which way he and Morehead jump. I have no clue, although I tend to lean in the direction of that’s a lot of money you’re asking people to commit, people who don’t like to spend that kind of money on athletics. But I don’t see how anyone can believe it’s a slam dunk call for them. Or that they know what they’re doing anymore than Richt appears to right now.