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Sports Business

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

November 30, 2009
KEYWORDS Sports Business

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.”

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