Swarbrick's decision to fire Weis would cost ND $45M

November 30, 2009
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Former Indianapolis attorney Jack Swarbrick knows the next 48 hours could well define his 29-year career in athletics. The Notre Dame athletic director is pondering what to do about football coach Charlie Weis. All reports indicate Swarbrick will sack Weis by tomorrow.

The decision may be easy after this season, which ended with six wins and six losses. But it won’t be cheap, even by Notre Dame standards.
It will cost approximately $18 million to buy out Weis’ contract, and another $2 million to buy out Weis’ assistants. Recall, Weis started so brilliantly at Notre Dame, that his first contract was shredded seven games into his tenure in South Bend and replaced with a 10-year deal. That genius move pre-dated Swarbrick's arrival in South Bend.

And sources have said a high-level replacement (like Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops) will cost Notre Dame at least $25 million in guaranteed money. Sources have confirmed that Swarbrick talked with Stoops over the weekend.

So, the Weis divorce will cost Notre Dame $45 million. For that money, the folks who run Notre Dame and donate to the school will expect results—winning results.

If Swarbrick, himself a Notre Dame graduate, doesn’t proceed through this crossroads carefully, his job will be the next that’s in jeopardy.
Already, members of the Irish faithful at this year’s season ending home game against Connecticut were sporting T-shirts that proclaimed in bold lettering “Sack Jack.”

  • As a long time Purdue fan, I have to chuckle at ND and IU fans. They always demand the top rated coaches to make their teams successful. Then they demand their heads when their is not success in 4 years or less. They should look to Purdue's strategy of hire the right coach for the job, and if possible bring him up through the ranks. They hired Tiller, a former Boiler Assistant, but far from a big name. that seemed to work out well. Now we will see how Danny Hope does.

    In Basketball, to follow a legend, we did not locate a big name, we went back to the alumni well and pulled out Matt Painter. Again, not a coaching big name, and he seems to be doing well also.

    It seems the Colts have caught on to the system of hiring in with Coach Caldwell and that seems to be working out.

    I think the key is, not the name but the system. Hire someone with potential, teach him the system and then give him the job. Every time IU and ND switch coaches, they switch entire systems which is a never ending rebuilding cycle.
  • serves ND right ...
    It's ND's own fault for giving Weis that ludicrous contract extension based on a pitifully inadequate body of work. He coaches seven games and they throw buckets of money at him? He probably laughed all the way to the bank. Good thing they won't make him give it back when he leaves.
  • How do you know the buyout amount?
    This $18 million figure that gets thrown around has no basis in fact. It started out as someone's guess, and it's now deemed to be the actual buyout amount. Given the time left on Weis' contract and his statements a couple weeks ago that he makes nowhere close to the $4 million salary people think he pulls in, I'm guessing the buyout is nowhere close to $18 million. (Let me emphasize, however, that this is just a guess.)
  • IBJ - Doesn't Understand Biz
    This is a biz journal yet they haven't a clue about biz. The buyout amount is probably lower than $20M for Weis and his Assst, but regardless - ND needs to make a change and it will cost them whatever. You have a school with a $7.5B endowment, a very affluent alumni base who tend to be avid ND sports fans, a trip to a BCS game gets ND $19-20M -so why is money a sticky point ? Logic also says it won't cost ND $45M in incremental dollars ? Even if you pay $20M for buyouts- a new coach is paid over the life of the contract plus they have to pay for a coach one way or the other. Focusing on the buyout is absurd - its kinda like Bill Gates asking if he has enough money to take his family out for burgers tonight !@!!
  • Think of the Poor at Xmas time
    Wow, $20 million while there are so many needy people out there. I guess helping the poor takes a backseat to winning football games. Some charitable organiztion that is.
  • ND's costs not that great
    Bob you are wrong on what ND gets for a BCS game. Under their new contract (effective 2006) they only get $4.5 million or the same as a second team from a conference in a BCS game. They also get a little over a million in the years that they don't go to a BCS game.

    Plus Swarbrick has also said money will have nothing to do with the decision. I have also heard rumors that there are alumni who have said they are willing to pay Weis's buyout costs.

    Also with the $5 million salary they would have to pay a blockbuster coach per year, the school at most is only going to pay a couple of million with the majority of the money coming from endorsements (especially Adidas contract).
    Thanks for saying what should be have been said when this issue has come up time and time again. If people are that naive to believe that this so-called "buyout" is of any concern to ND in the end, then I have swamp land to sell them in Indy. I for one am tired of hearing all the ND bashers whine about what we should and should not do. The fact of the matter is, Charlie has totally underperformed and needs to go--if not, this will hurt ND more financially than sticking with him. Just as in any profession, you don't perform, then you must answer to that. As for the Purdue fan who believes that Tiller did great things for them, I would just say this is a typical Purdue fan for you--don't reach for the sky, reach for mediocrity and stop there.
  • Contracts
    ND will join so many other universities that terminate contracts and spend foolish money covering the buyout cluase. I'd be curiuos to get a list of universities that are paying former coaches/administrators and how much that would be. The amount would be staggering. When will adminstrators be held accountable? The previous AD at ND was a complete idiot. The Weis move was only one of his many blunders.
  • I guess other than Tiller being the most successful coach in Purdue history and taking us to 10 bowls in 12 years including a Rose is not to shabby. Granted we are not to ND's level, although lately ND has not been to that level either.

    Tiller brought us to a good place, now it is our "Hope" to go to the next level. Sorry, not everyone can be perenial national champs. Of course that goes for ND as well.
  • Weis Buy-Out
    Do the normal rules of mitigation of damages apply to the contracts of football coaches? If Weis gets a job in the NFL does ND get credit for whatever he's paid in his new job? Or does ND simply comply with some buy-out clause in the contract and pay him X-million dollars regardless?
  • Purdue will always be a farm school
    Remember PUkes, for Boilerchoker fans NCAA will always stand for No Championships At All.
    • Brett
      Remember also that if there is a more creative way to denigrate, you can always count on Brett the Evil to deliver!
    • You assume ND is paying
      More likely that these contracts and buyouts are heavily backed by big time donors. To think that A) Weis' buyout is a product of multiplying a rumored salary by number of years left is naive and that B) ND is actually out of pocket that amount is equally naive.

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