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Chizik’s New Pact Provides Security Along With Cash

Last week, Auburn University announced a new $3.5 million-per-year contract for head coach Gene Chizik.  As the details of the agreement have become public, it’s clear that the third-year coach has benefited on the security front as much as on the monetary front.

First, his buyout — if fired this year without cause — would be a whopping $10 million.  That buyout drops by $2.5 million per year through 2015.  That happens to be one of the highest buyouts in college sports.

On the flipside, if Chizik were to leave Auburn, he would owe the school $3.5 million.

Another clause was removed from Chizik’s previous contract and that move, too, benefits the coach.  AU no longer has the right to suspend Chizik’s pay if an SEC or NCAA investigation is opened into the Tiger program. 

Auburn is clearly giving Chizik the keys to the kingdom after last season’s national title run.  They’re all in.  Money, security, you name it, AU is providing it.  But as we noted last week, there is a Charlie Weis-ian danger here.

Chizik had an incredible season in 2010.  And if he’s the best coach in the country — as AD Jay Jacobs said last week — this contract will prove to be a smart move by Auburn.  If, however, Chizik’s success had more to do with Cam Newton than his own coaching and recruiting abilities, then the money AU is spending could come back to bite them.

There’s a danger in handing out a massive contract early in a coach’s tenure.  Ask the folks in South Bend, Indiana.



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