USC Morning Buzz: The Cost Of Buyouts

Since the salary of Clay Helton was in the news Monday, and there is always talk of a about this buyout, let’s look at what USC would pay for some other coaches:

Cincinnati coach Luke Fickell has a $3.5 million buyout.

Iowa State coach Matt Campbell has a $4 million buyout.

Minnesota coach P.J. Fleck has a $4.5 million buyout.

These buyouts are pretty similar. The only dumb buyout is USC’s because Helton would probably be owed more than $10 million if fired after this season.

Thanks, Lynn Swann. Thanks, Max Nikias.

So it’s still $15 million in buyouts for Helton and the new coach before you start paying the new coach at USC.

But if you can pay Lindsay Gottlieb $1 million, than you can play $15 million to make a football change.

  • Palaie Gaoteote is reportedly considering Ohio State.

I find this to be an intriguing option because after an indifferent career at USC, Gaoteote might look like a different player with proper coaching.

27 thoughts on “USC Morning Buzz: The Cost Of Buyouts

  1. I understand guarantee money to lure a coach into accepting a position, but there has to be a reciprocal. To quote one Alabama’s greatest players, “stupid is as stupid does.”
    What company structures a contract so poorly as to accept mediocre results?
    I guess this is what we get when contract negotiations are conducted on the golf simulator.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wolfie, you forgot to than the biggest idiot of them all, Patrick C. Haden who gave Gomer the job to start with.

    There are probably a 100 wealthy alums who would GLADLY pay the $15 million to rid USC of Gomer, problem is Folt won’t go to them to do it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I remember —and this story is NOT apocryphal —- when Haden (lazily) announced to the team Helton would become their permanent (and, oh brother, do I mean PERMANENT) coach, Helton walked into the room from the practice field and said (and I quote): “I can’t talk now —I STINK.”

      Liked by 2 people

  3. That means that Helton has at least two more years here if SC doesn’t buy him out. Can SC afford to lose $10 million in fooball revenue through tickets, concessions, sougneirs, parking, drinking, Cardinal and Gold fees? We will see

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Folt doesn’t care about football, if it makes money, if they win NC’s, none of it, the sooner all of you accept this the better you’ll all be.

      From ROBO part 1 to PC, USC football was in the wilderness, did anyone at that school hire anyone that was a top coach to get football back on track ?

      Ted Tollner, loser, why Dave Levy wasn’t hired is a mystery
      Larry Smith, hired to get the academics better, most of the players took Communications, yippee ! Smith folded under the pressure to win, didn’t get USC tradition at all, cried at his presser when he was fired.
      Robo part 2, undermined by his own laziness and Garrett
      Paul Hackett, maybe the worst coach at USC until Gomer came along
      Fell into PC only after Iron Head Mike got used by Ericksson and Bellotti to get better deals from their schools and was told no by Lisp Holtz, if PC hadn’t been unemployed ​and at USC to watch his daughter play VB, who knows what idiot Garrett would have hired.

      After a great but brief run, PC flees to the NFL. USC then goes back to the same old tired stupid practice of hiring ex USC assistants because ” They get USC ” So, a philandering narcissist is hired, a pill popping philandering drunk is hired and then a fat Bible thumper is given the job because the AD is too lazy to do a search.

      It’s 2021, USC is no closer to winning an NC than ucla, Colorado, Arizona or Boise State is, and Carol Lynn Folt doesn’t fucking care.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. One set of questions: which one is fat bible thumper, which one is the narcissist, which one is the pill popper, which one is the philanderer and which one is the drunk?


      2. Boise St. could beat SC. If SC hires another bum coach like Humpty Dumpity Helton, then SC will be in the dark ages for over 10 years. It could be worse, you could be an ugly fan and never get out of the dark .


  4. Buyouts are rediculous basically the higher the buyout the more valuable the coach is to the university, and used to prevent the top coaches in the country from leaving before their contract expires, or firing the coach before the contract expires.

    Clay Helton, in the beginning was an interim coach, and was able to stay on year after year due after the failures of Lane Kiffin, and Steve Sarkisian. USC should have never offered a temporary coach with zero previous national head coaching experience or consistent success such a lucrative buyout clause in his contract. Everyone knew he was a temporary fix from day 1, and since he was not a “hot commodity” perhaps a small buyout was justified, but nothing like USC offered. USC, had nothing to lose if Clay Helton took another head coaching position yet he was able to leverage Lynn Swann and Nikias like he was the Knute Rockne. Clay Helton, had no other other head coaching offers, and will never be one of the top coaches in the country. USC should have made it easier to fire him, or let him move on easily to another job with a much smaller buyout option.

    Talk about being in the right place at the right time. The great head coaches in the country deserve buyouts since they are very valuable property to the univeristy. Clay Helton, was a temporary fix from day 1,
    and is not even close to the coaching legends at USC such as Jones, Mckay, Robinson, and Carroll. USC, should have offered a two to three contract not a long term to a coach who basically has achieved very little, and is not being heavily recruited by other universities in the country. USC, did not need to protect themselves if Helton left, and for sure they did not need to provide such a lucrative protection to Helton and his family once they fired him. USC does not need to provide security for life buyout clauses for head football coaches who are paid well on a year to year basis.

    Folks Clay Helton won the lotto with USC. Sadly, we could have offered this guy half of his curent salary, and definitely a much smaller buyout in his contract because HELTON is NOT A HOT COMMODITY IN COLLEGE FOOTBALL, AND NEVER WILL BE.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. With Haden being a lawyer, you would think he would know how to read a contract and what it means. Haden screwed that up. Then Swann, the no good bum extended his contract. If he hadn’t SC might have a new coach without having to buy out Humpty Dumpity Helton.


    1. tommyd— If Helton weren’t given a multi year contract extension and a nice raise he would have walked right out of Swann’s office and become the new head coach at……. at…..


  5. With a new coach, maybe could get generate an immediate extra $10 million or so per year, year in, year out.

    15,000 extra fans, for 6 home games, and assume each extra fan (parking, tick price, concessions) pays an average of $125 per game.

    Not counting TV revenue, bowl game, ads…

    Liked by 2 people

  6. If Clay Helton was not given a lucrative buy out, and long term extension he would have?>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Been out of coaching or taken an assistant job at Western Kentucky or selling used cars on a lot in Houston. The man does not have a good enough resume or winning percentage to be a head coach any longer.

    He hit the jackpot at SC.—-right place at the right time, and he was not judged on performance other than 1 game which was the Rose Bowl Win over Penn State which was a meaningless game for both teams based on the national rankings for a national championship. USC awareded him for 1 victory like it had just one the national title which was hardly the case.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. USC took a huge gamble based on 1 game and lost big time. He won 1 big game, and that game was a meaningless Rose Bowl game. No AD in their right mind would have given him this type of contract unless he himself did not really care for the university, or for the future of USC football.

    NCAA football is not the NFL. A 4- 5 year contract is ok for a new coach if the coach is qualified, and has a track record of success. If you hire a no name coach there is no need for a “buyout contract”, and if there is 6 months to 1 year in salary if we fire you before your contract is expired unless your Nick Saben, Urban Meyer, etc.

    Who is in control of the hiring process. The employer or the agents for these head coaches. This is a university for high learning when will USC learn this is not the NFL.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Except for the fact it would hurt recruiting, I’d like to see our football coaches given 1 year, renewable (if justified) contracts….
      The time to have stripped Helton of his coaching responsibilities came 60 seconds after the Cotton Bowl. Urban had trashed him. Sam was leaving. It was obvious it was going to be all downhill from there…..


  8. 1 to 2 year renewable contracts. Unless, you hire Nick Saban, Urban Meyer, or the guy at Clemson hiring a head football coach these days is a huge gamble. To me if you are not a super power national championship coach you need to prove yourself so if your not a national power coach universities should give these guys short term renewable contracts with small buy out clauses to protect both sides. Sure a top assistant coach, or head coach from a smaller program would still jump at the USC job even with a less lucrative shorter term contract and buyouts since it provides a great stepping stone to building a stronger resume. I know if Lynn Swann would have offered half of what Helton is current making with no buyout option, and a 3 year contract with performance clauses he would have still signed immediately because he had few other options.

    The problem is Lynn Swann and Max awarded Helton a National Power football coach type of contract after 1 meaningless victory in the Rose Bowl. The last time I checked Nick Saban, and Urban Meyer have built their top power programs by consistently winning games and NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS, not PAC 12 second place finishes. Swann and Nikias must have thought the USC program is back after beating Penn State in the Rose Bowl which was stupid and hardly the case. ROSE BOWL WINS use to be expected here year after year, and national championship contention almost as often. The expectations of the program have dropped considerably year to year under Helton yet he is being paid like a national power coach.

    Who was USC bidding against for the services of Clay Helton to justify overpaying him? It certainly was not the NFL, and for sure not another major college football program. Agents, can often negotiate inflated long term deals if there is competition in the hiring process, and in this case no one else wanted Helton yet they still signed the deal. USC was in the driver seat with Helton, and totally blew it when negotiating this current contract that we are all paying for.

    It will be interesting to see if Coach Gottlieb, the new women’s basketball coach received a large buy out option on her contract. I believe her contract was for 1 million a year for 5 years. USC, again overpaid as the previous coach’s salary was $300,000 so my point is she must produce at least 2 Pac 12 titles, and 3 NCAA tournament appearances for USC to receive a return on this investment. Investment in resources are beneficial if there is a return on the investment. Let’s hope USC offered a small buy out package to Coach Gottlieb as opposed to offering security for the rest of her life at only 47 years old. Bottom line USC is paying too much in coaching salaries more performance clauses need to added to the contracts with smaller starting salaries, and shorter term contracts otherwise the coaches get fat from day 1 with very little incentive to build a championship.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hmmm. It’s ALMOST like the coaches’ agents are savvier than USC’s Legal Team….


    2. At least they paid for a proven talent this time. Paying for a top quality coach is one thing, paying for a bum is another.

      I wonder what exactly the board of trustees does in their meetings? Does anyone ask questions, like why are we paying so much money to such incompetent administrators?


  9. Wolfie says “But if you can pay Lindsay Gottlieb $1 million, than you can play $15 million to make a football change”. I agree 100%. I don’t see them making a lot of money in womens basketball. They’ll make 40-50 million a year in football. If you are looking at it from a business standpoint, it’s a no-brainer. But I don’t think a lot of the administration looks at it from a business standpoint. They look at it through the lens of a left wing politically correct agenda.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.