Coaches’ Contracts: Houston Nutt

The parade of SEC coach contracts as found at the USA Today continues with Houston Nutt’s old deal with Arkansas.

Image CC by Flickr user TipsterHog.

As I mentioned before, the USA Today hasn’t updated the contract database yet, so it’s still just Houston Nutt’s old contract for Arkansas and not Bobby Petrino‘s new deal scribed using a dead falcon’s feathers as a pen and its blood for the ink. The university calls itself UAF through the contract, short for University of Arkansas, Fayetteville.

Amazingly, his is about the most concise contract in the conference, clocking in at just 14 pages. That ties him with Phil Fulmer for shortest contract in the league. What separates his contract from Phil’s though is the 16 pages of amendments and addenda that balloon the count up to 30 pages total. Notably, a fax of a form called “Procedures for Dismissal of Head Coach for Cause” dated December 29, 2004 was added to the file. Interesting, since Arkansas went 5-6 in 2004; it suggests that the university may have been starting to build a paper trail to get rid of him.

What do you mean a paper trail means they want me to go away? Image CC by Flickr user TipsterHog.

Nutt was one of the few in the country without explicit performance incentives. The contract states that he was eligible to receive them in accordance with the policy of university’s board of trustees and state law, but he was at the mercy of the athletic department when it came to actually receiving those bonuses. To show how things change over time, his original 1997 contract said he could request a car “of a make and model comparable with that provided to the highest officials at UAF,” but a decade later he got two complimentary cars without even having to ask. The two car deal is pretty universal at this point.

His largest source of income was not actually coaching football, which got him a salary of $329,644. It was actually his coach’s show that paid him the most at $600,000. Perhaps he should have gone into the talk show business if he could make that much for a seasonal show with only 12 or 13 half hour episodes a year.

Selected Quotes:

“Coach shall have the duty and responsibility for… making a good faith effort… in meeting academic requirements by student athletes which shall include achieving goals for graduation of student athletes as established by the Athletic Director annually.”

So, if his team doesn’t meet academic requirements, it’s no problem. As long as he made a “good faith effort” it’s fine if the kids didn’t graduate enough. It doesn’t mention a goal for graduating every player that comes through the program either. This is by far the least restrictive clause of any I’ve seen regarding academic progress by the players.

“Coach shall be entitled to… tuition reduction for himself and his dependents.”

So if he wants to take classes on the side while he coaches, he still has to pay up, just at a reduced rate.

“Coach acknowledges that the University will commit substantial financial resources to the success of its football program…”

This is from the part that legitimizes a buyout since his leaving for another job would cause damages to the program. You’d think that the school’s “substantial” commitment to football success would be implicit in the huge salary that it agreed to pay its coach. Every coach has to agree that his leaving would cause damages, but only this contract makes reference to the university’s commitment to success as part of the reason for damages occurring.

Better coach ’em up better in Oxford, Houston. Image CC by Flickr user TipsterHog.

Note: This post has been published used by WordPress’s new feature allowing you to set a time in the future for publication rather than have it go up immediately. This is the first time I’ve tried it, so if anything goes weird I blame it on that.


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