The sports world is based on contracts, and contracts are not only between an athlete and the team, but between coaches and the team. Most sports contracts include a hefty amount of money for coaches, especially in pro sports, but college contracts are also proving to be quite lucrative for coaches, and this is including contractual buyouts as well. It is not uncommon for a player or a coach to make a large sum for being asked to leave a franchise, but the latest buyout of Charlie Weis, coach for the Fighting Irish, has made headlines through the recent years due to the size of Notre Dame’s payout to have him move on.
The firing took place in 2009 and Weis was given his first installment for his dismissal. As of December 2015, he was receiving his last payment, and the total is the largest buyouts in the history of the Fighting Irish. It proves that coaches can not only make substantial amounts of money while coaching a team, but they can also make a hefty payout to not coach a team, too.
According to Notre Dame’s federal tax returns, which were just released on Monday, Weis received $6.6 million at the time of the firing in 2009 and would receive approximately $2.05 million each year following. The payments ran between 2010 and 2014 and by the end of the payout schedule in December of 2015, Weis had received nearly $19 million in buyout monies from the Fighting Irish to no longer coach for them. This amount includes money he was receiving from Play By Play Sports LLC, a multimedia and marketing rights entity that belongs to Notre Dame Sports Properties, in the sum of $470,000. He received that payment in 2010.
What’s more interesting is that the buyout payouts from Notre Dame wasn’t the only money Weis was receiving from a sports organization. As large of a sum of money as that is, Weis also received a large amount of money for a similar situation in 2014 after he coached two appalling seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs, as assistant coach, and was fired. He was hired as assistant coach for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2011 and subsequently moved up to head coach. He had also worked for the University of Florida during this time. Kansas owed Weis $5.6 million under his contract, and after deductions, the buyout with Kansas wound up costing them $5.4 million, which he was receiving while being compensated by Notre Dame.
Because universities and private colleges are non-profit organizations, this means that they must file an annual tax return that includes information about their most highly paid employees. The tax returns will cover two calendar years, in part, but the IRS is most interested in the compensation for the most recent year.
The tax return also revealed that while the infamous Fight Irish organization was paying Weis for his removal, the institution was also paying for the buyout of former coach Ty Willingham, $650,000, a total that was much smaller than that of Weis, but still another large sum of money. To add to it, there was a list of several other Notre Dame athletics members that were receiving money for early dissolved contracts that was included on the return.
Athletic buyouts are costly for universities and colleges, but this is one that is definitely for the records.