On Saturday, Nov. 24, 2017, literally minutes after Arkansas lost the regular-season finale to Missouri, head coach Bret Bielema was fired. Arkansas was paying Bielema $11.9 million to go away after five seasons and only 29 victories. Two years later, might they pay another high buyout for Chad Morris to go away?
Nineteen games into his tenure, Chad Morris has four total wins, not one of which has come against a Power Five team. He's winless in the SEC (0-12), doesn't have a winning streak, and has lost eight games by at least 14 points, including five 30-point losses.
Morris is in the second year of the six-year deal he signed in December 2017 that runs Dec. 5, 2017 through Dec. 31, 2023. His annual base salary is just $500,000, but he receives $3 million in additional compensation per year (in 12 equal monthly installments). Morris is eligible for three retention payments of $500,000 each if he's head coach on Feb. 15, 2019 (paid), Feb. 15, 2021, and Feb. 15, 2013. He is also eligible for up to $1.25 million annually in and off-the-field bonuses.
If fired before his contract expires on Dec. 31, 2023, Morris is owed a buyout. "If terminated for convenience by university" occurs before Jan. 1, 2023, he is owed 70 percent of his remaining salary and other compensation. If fired on or after Jan. 1, 2023, he is owed 100 percent of the remaining wage and other compensation.
For example, if fired, for simplicity's sake, on Dec. 31, 2019, he is owed $9.8 million (70 percent of $3.5 million over four years).
Dec. 31, 2019: $9.8 million
Dec. 31, 2020: $7.35 million
Dec. 31, 2021: $4.9 million
Dec. 31, 2022: $3.15 million
Arkansas already paid a $2-million buyout to SMU, therefore if they do fire Morris after this season, they'll have paid more than $20 million (including base salary, other compensation, buyouts, and bonuses) for two seasons of his services.