Razorback Foundation, ex-coach Bielema reach deal on buyout

Posted: January 30, 2018 at 4:22 p.m.
Updated: January 30, 2018 at 4:49 p.m.

Bret Bielema makes his way out onto the field in the first half during a football game on Friday, November 24, 2017 at Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville.

The Razorback Foundation and fired football coach Bret Bielema have reached an agreement on the terms of his buyout.

According to a Tuesday news release from the organization, Bielema is eligible to be paid up to a total of $11.935 million in monthly installments during the period from Nov. 25, 2017, to Dec. 30, 2020. That reportedly amounts to slightly more than $320,800 a month.

The maximum payment depends on Bielema's ability to find a new job, the foundation said. As part of the deal, the ex-coach also "releases all potential claims against the Foundation."

[DOCUMENT: Read Bielema's full buyout agreement]

In the release, Bielema said: "Having completed this agreement, I am pleased to move forward in my career and am excited about the future."

Razorback Foundation Executive Director Scott Varady added that "Both parties worked in good faith to complete this agreement."

Bielema was fired Nov. 24 at the conclusion of a 4-8 season. Confusion about buyout terms lingered throughout his fifth season — which marked the fourth time in two decades that the Razorbacks won fewer than five games.

According to an agreement released late last month under the state's open-records law, the Razorback Foundation set his buyout at $15.4 million if the university fired him in 2017.

That number matches an amount listed in Bielema's public employment contract with the university.

The employment contract with the university included language saying that figure was to be plugged into a formula to determine the "total [buyout] payment," which equated to about $5.9 million, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette previously reported.

But Bielema's agreement with the Razorback Foundation released in December does not mention a formula, instead saying "the amount specified in this paragraph shall be the total amount that will be paid." The nonprofit, funded by donors to support university athletics, is responsible for the final agreement with Bielema and for paying his severance.

Read Wednesday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reporters Eric Besson and Aziza Musa contributed to this story.