It’s been a great turnaround in Boca Raton for the FAU Owls, champions of Conference USA, and their head coach, Lane Kiffin, is the biggest benefactor. Tuesday afternoon, as the Owls were getting set to host/play in their bowl game in their own stadium, they announced they had reached a new 10 year agreement with the former USC, Tennessee Vols and Oakland Raiders head coach.
FAU, completed a perfect conference season (9-0) with their championship game win over North Texas two weeks ago.
There’s optimism everywhere, because Kiffin tripled the win total in his first year and did not get hired by a big time school, yet.
And, while the salary increase from his 2017 base pay of $925,000 will be significant in the deal, there’s really only one relevant question: what’s the buyout?
For you see, FAU president John Kelly, who was touting the deal Tuesday afternoon, can brag about the bright future and the contract payouts for Kiffin and his staff salary pool increases, etc all he wants.. But, the only thing that really matters is, if an SEC, ACC, Big XII, etc. “power 5” school comes calling, what’s the financial constraint to not have Kiffin easily walk out on the deal?
For example, in Kiffin’s old five year deal, his buyout to leave after this season was $2.5 million, which may seem like a lot. However, to the big boys on the higher level, it’s not.
Kiffin’s buyout was to decrease by $500,000 for each of the next years of the deal.
The school has yet to release the details of the deal, but if we assume that his new salary is at least $2 million, and the total value is at least $20 million, then FAU would be foolish to have not gotten at least $5-$6 million in the buyout for the first couple of years.
For reference, Scott Frost’s departure from UCF to Nebraska two weeks ago was $3 million but that was from the second year of his original contract, and he was making $1.7 million as a salary.
Again, if FAU didn’t get a larger buyout then the whole “10 year” part of is irrelevant. As soon as he gets a $4-5 million offer next December, he will be gone.
For Tuesday night, they are playing Akron in something called, the “Cheribundi Tart Cherry Boca Raton Bowl” and FAU is expected to roll on their home field.
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