While universities across the United States are limiting costs during the COVID-19 pandemic, the University of Texas opted to take on extra expenses by firing head football coach Tom Herman after a 7-3 season.
According to Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde, Herman’s buyout is about $15 million, while the rest of the departed coaching staff is owed an estimated $9 million. With the university hiring Steve Sarkisian, who was most recently the Alabama offensive coordinator, to replace Herman, Forde’s column notes that the total cost of changing coaches will be at least $40 million.
Forde notes the hypocrisy illustrated by the coaching change, noting that the Texas athletic department in September laid off 35 people, left 35 other jobs unfilled, implemented a furlough for 11 workers and had 273 employees take a temporary pay cut due to COVID-19’s financial strain. Texas athletic director Chris Del Conte said at the time that the personnel decisions were expected to save $13.1 million.
“This is just a bunch of rich guys deciding they need a new football coach and stroking the checks to make it happen,” Forde wrote. “It would be nice if some of that money could go to restoring the jobs of those who were laid off, or refunding low-level employees who took a pay cut — but screw them. This is college football.
“Texas’s massive money outlay is playing out against the backdrop of a budget-wrecking pandemic, and with athletic directors moaning about the additional hit that could accompany Name, Image and Likeness legislation.”
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USA TODAY reported in October that Texas was planning to reimburse its athletic coaches who took voluntary pay cuts during the 2020-21 fiscal year due to COVID-19. According to Hookem.com, Herman reportedly took a $900,000 pay cut as one of 26 coaches and administrators that “voluntarily agreed” to a temporary salary reduction.
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