Rich Rodriguez's contract with Arizona has an interesting provision.
As in most coaching contracts, Rodriguez's deal has a buyout clause he has to pay if he breaks the contract and leaves for another school. But if the school he leaves for is West Virginia, where he used to coach, the amount Rodriguez owes the school is double what it is for any other.
Arizona agreed to extend the contracts of Rodriguez, basketball coach Sean Miller and athletics director Greg Byrne through 2019 upon approval of the board in regents in June. The details of the buyout are in item 23 of this document for the board of regents meeting. (Rodriguez's current contract was set to expire in 2017.)
If Rodriguez leaves the school before January 15, his buyout is $1 million, and therefore $2 million for West Virginia. From January 16, 2015 to January 15, 2016, his buyout is $500,000 and $1 million for West Virginia. Consider it the college football buyout version of the provision the Minnesota Vikings instituted in the contract for guard Steve Hutchinson when the Vikings signed Hutchinson away from the Seattle Seahawks.
The inclusion of the buyout also has interesting timing given the struggles of West Virginia. Since moving to the Big 12 at the beginning of the 2012 season, the Mountaineers have gone 11-14 and 6-14 after starting 5-0 in 2012.
The struggles have put West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen on the hot seat. However, if the Mountaineers struggle in 2014 and decide to make a coaching change, the school will owe Holgorsen approximately $8.5 million to compensate for the remaining three years on his contract. It makes Rodriguez's provision look like chump change.
Before leaving for Michigan following the 2007 season, Rodriguez was 60-26 in seven seasons at West Virginia, including a record of 32-5 in his final three seasons, a far cry from what the Mountaineers have done in the last two years.
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