Fans are starting to ask me if the coronavirus will save Clay Helton’s job?
Obviously, we are not at that point yet but I’m hearing about it more often.
If the football season gets canceled, would Helton get fired with 0-0 record?
Here’s the crazy part: USC will play Oregon and Washington this season. But it won’t play them in 2021 or 2022. How happy would the USC administration be to avoid paying Helton’s buyout and keep him three more seasons? The problem is there might be a lot less fans buying tickets with Helton around.
Of course, the loss of the 2020 football season would be disastrous for a lot of athletic programs. USC had $60.1 million in football revenue for the 2017 season. Expenses were $32.9 million.
That’s a profit of around $27 million and a lot of this money supports virtually every other sport because usually only men’s basketball is also profitable.
Getting back to buyouts, the chart below from AthleticDirectorU.com shows Nebraska spent more than $27 million the past 15 years on football/basketball buyouts.
Private schools are not required to offer this information so they are not listed. But you can see why USC was reluctant to spend $15-20 million if it fired Helton.
For the record, USC paid Lane Kiffin around $6 million after he was fired. Steve Sarkisian lost a $30 million lawsuit against USC that claimed he was improperly fired.