You know what’s an unfair fight?

Your typical big school athletic director versus the likes of Jimmy Sexton.

Routinely, agents are fleecing big school athletic directors who, once they have zeroed in on their man, drastically overestimate the chance that he is such a wild success that he would be hired away by one of a few programs, while drastically underestimating the chance that the coach fails and will need to be fired.

In addition to the pressure to get the hire made and being far too overconfident in it, athletic directors often have little incentive to push back on large buyout numbers. Why? A football hire is the most important hire an AD will make. And if it fails, the chance that the AD is himself fired is quite high. At that point, the huge buyout is the problem of the next AD.

Additionally, agents are typically much better at negotiating than athletic directors.

Throw in the money flow that’s seemingly on automatic pilot, and there you go… rubes playing with other people’s money.



Filed under It's Just Bidness

26 responses to “You know what’s an unfair fight?

  1. 81Dog

    has the author been following McMediocrity around the last few years? Or maybe he studied up on Dave Braine’s brilliant lockdown of Paul Hewatt at GTU. Or Alleva’s masterstroke with da Coash O. How many coaches is AU paying at any one time the last 20 years NOT to coach, in addition to the current coach? There are certainly plenty of examples from among which an object lesson can be chosen.


  2. Mayor

    The worst college has got to be Tech which until recently was paying two basketball coaches and Chan Gailey not to coach. The worst (or best depending on how you look at it) offender from the coaching side has got to be Charlie Weiss (who can’t coach a lick) who somehow was able to get paid millions of dollars from both ND and Kansa AT THE SAME TIME. Who was his agent? Sexton?


  3. 69Dawg

    The telling point in the article was that the AD knows that if the coach fails he will be fired along with the coach. This is a poison pill that the AD can leave behind to kill the program if the school chooses to fire the coach. All the ones cited possibly make a little sense except for LSU. Coach O should have had to pay to get that job. If the AD survives LSU’s President should be canned. I guess the agent game really is like dueling with an unarmed man. These AD’s are just not equal to the tasks that they have. In the immortal words of Forest’s mom “Stupid is as Stupid does”.


    • No One Knows You're a Dawg

      I agree about the telling point.

      Ideally there be some sort of oversight of the AD, like by say, the athletic board or school president, to make sure the interests of the university didn’t come second to the interests of the AD. But I know that’s a lot to ask of the powers that be in 2017.


  4. Otto

    I have to ask what is Smart’s buyout and did the consulting firm that we like to make snarky comments about help negotiate the deal?


    • PTC DAWG

      The buyout terms on either side are both also spelled out in the memo:

      Smart would owe $3.75 million if he leaves in 2016, $3 million if he leaves in 2017, $2.5 million if he leaves in 2018, and continues to descend along those lines the final three years.
      If Georgia terminates Smart it would owe: $13.5 million in 2016, or $10.8 million in 2017, or $7.050,375 in 2018, or $4.700,250 in 2019, or $2.35,125 in 2020, or 62.67% of his remaining salary if it happens in 2021.


  5. Derek

    The truth is that it’s Jimmy Sexton vs. the fans for whom national relevance is guaranteed with the right application of simple solutions and other people’s money.


  6. paul

    Money won’t make a stupid person smart. It will simply allow them to be stupid on a much grander scale.


  7. Bulldog Joe

    As far as I’m aware, Sexton has never been able to negotiate condoms into a contract.


  8. I've Stopped Caring

    What was the phrase a few months ago? “Arrogance in the service of mediocrity”?

    The AD profession has taken on a tremendous evolution over the last few years, due largely to the ESPNization of the world. It used to be a job for an ex-coach with a whistle around his neck and a degree in P.E. that primarily busied himself with filling out a schedule, getting decent deals on equipment and uniforms and keeping coaches in line. Now, obviously, it requires CEO-like business and political expertise. Remarkably few big time ADs are up to speed here yet, and Jimmy Sexton is taking full advantage of this gap in a way that will offer financial comfort to generations of little Sextons.

    AD’s offer “arrogance in the service of mediocrity” due to the environment in which they exist where such mediocrity is rewarded with bags of money at their disposal. They can with equal ease soak up praise for a coach’s success and deflect blame for his failure.

    University Presidents and Boards of Regents/Trustees across the nation would do well to take a very hard look at the skill set of their ADs to avoid the nightmares LSU, etc. are in. I fear the only downside to Kirby’s success is that its going to, at least temporarily save Greg McGarity.


  9. While I think the coaches are overpaid PE teachers (yes, that’s what the market will bear), I love to watch these agents just take these clueless administrators behind the woodshed in these negotiations.


  10. 3rdandGrantham

    Orgeron was the worst I’ve ever seen, as he was just sitting there with no other HC offers out there, yet they gave him a 12 mil buyout anyway. I mean, what was the point? As someone else stated recently, Orgeron would have taken the job for case of redbull and a weekly supply of gumbo, as he was absolutely begging for the job.

    That’s like badly wanting to get into a top employer in your field, in which you’d take a paycut and do whatever it takes to get in. And they finally come back and say, ok, we’ll give you a job…but only if we increase your current salary by 450% along with a 100K signing bonus. Take it or leave it.

    As absurd as that sounds, that’s basically what LSU did with coach O.


  11. suite jesus

    On behalf of Rubes everywhere, we’d like to object to this broad categorization that we are somehow at the reduced level of AD’s. We will await your apology while considering our potential means of recourse….


  12. Bright Idea

    We can’t overlook the role recruiting plays in these buyouts. Schools want recruits to believe that the current coach will be there their full 3-5 years while ignoring that the coach may forget how to coach during that time.


    • This. Universities subject to public records laws are pretty hamstrung. If the University were to get a big win at the negotiating table, the media would immediately caste it as a coaching hire with no confidence……basically an interim coach at that point. Of course, that doesn’t mean I think what is happening is right, but I can’t blame any AD for not wanting to be a trailblazer in what would be a very risky PR move.

      My vote would be to make changes to the necessary laws (FOIA, etc) that force these contracts back into a more natural market setting. Ultimately, you’re doing a better service to the taxpayer if you can help these public universities to not get taken for a ride. My suggestions would be to craft certain exemptions for football programs that are completely self-sustaining. I’m not exactly sure how self-sustainment is defined, perhaps we would have to cut off random backdoor revenue streams or pony up for ancillary infrastructure, but I don’t see why Nick Saban’s contract details needs to be a public record when the program is capable of being fully operational with zero taxpayer dollars.


    • Southernlawyer11

      (attempting to post again) Amend FOIA to exempt self-sustaining football programs from having to make these contract disclosures. Then universities wouldn’t have the public perception hurdle hanging over them like the sword of damocles when dealing with Jimmy Sexton. In the end, putting these universities in a better bargaining position is probably a better move in the public’s interest than gawking over a contract that can be fully funded without taxpayer dollars. Admittedly, there would be some tangential things that these programs would have to pony up for to get them completely removed from the taxpayer’s teet, but it seems like the only people benefiting from these being public records are journalists who need clicks and jimmy sexton.


  13. Dave Ramsey

    I may be wrong but I think Saban has never had a buyout clause at Bama. But I think that was his doing and that’s why Bama fans used to get so paranoid he was going to leave.


  14. Mark

    Other people’s money, the boom and bane of socialist, government workers, and college athletic departments.


  15. W Cobb Dawg

    Orgeron and Jimmy Sexton to Alleva: “Sheaux me the lagniappe!”


    • Bulldog Joe

      Not sure what’s funnier – the name of LSU’s President or the name of Orgeron’s Limited Liability Company?