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The six-year, $30 million contract football coach Kevin Sumlin signed last week with Texas A&M has buyout provisions that would result in Sumlin being paid all of the money remaining on his contract if he were fired without cause at any point during the deal.
However, it requires him to pay a $5 million buyout if he terminates the deal without cause before the Aggies' last game of the 2016 season, including any bowl game. The deal is effective Jan. 1.
Texas A&M's willingness to essentially guarantee the deal is rare for a school with such a high-dollar contract. The schools paying recurring compensation of more than $4million to their football coach this season -- Alabama, Texas, Oklahoma, Ohio State and LSU -- have caps on what they would have to pay to fire him without cause.
The agreement, which USA TODAY Sports received Monday in response to an open-records request to the university, also includes a wide-ranging set of provisions related to NCAA rules compliance. The provisions are modeled heavily on those included in the contract to which Oregon and Mark Helfrich agreed in January and include the requirement that Sumlin "actively look for red flags of potential violations."
The contract Butch Jones signed with Tennessee in August incorporated a nine-page NCAA document titled "Head Coach Responsibilities Regarding Compliance with and Violations of NCAA Rules."
While provisions requiring NCAA compliance are standard in contracts, the requirements of the Oregon, Tennessee and Texas A&M deals are extraordinary in detail.
Texas A&M spokesman Jason Cook said Monday that the football program was not the subject of any NCAA investigatory or enforcement action. He said the compliance provisions were included "in response to guidance from the NCAA regarding responsibilities for coaches."
Beginning Aug. 1, NCAA Division I head coaches became subject to individual penalty for NCAA rules violations committed by their assistants, unless they can prove they took preventive steps to acknowledge potential violations and educate their staff about how to deal with issues.
The buyout provisions of Sumlin's deal were different from those under his previous contract. Under the prior deal, which was paying Sumlin $3.1 million, he could have received at most $6.8 million if fired without cause.