Lovie Smith signed a six-year contract in March, worth $21 million, to be the next head coach at the University of Illinois.
However, if he leaves the university before his contract is up, he’ll owe Illinois millions. Between $4.5 and $6.5 million to be exact.
In an open records request by the Champaign News-Gazette, Illinois released Smith’s full contract which detailed all the reifications should the coach leave Illinois before his contract is over, or get fired from the university.
— Julie Wurth (@jawurth) September 9, 2016
If Smith leaves early for another coaching position, he would owe $6.5 million in a buyout. However, that amount decreases by $500,000 with each year he stays at the university.
If Smith is fired without violating NCAA or program rules, he is owed nearly double his buyout amount. Being fired after this upcoming season would result in $19 million in Smith’s pocket. Like the buyout amount, that also decreases by $3 million after this season, $4 million after the 2017 season and $8 million after the 2018 season.
All other details of the contract are laid out by the News-Gazette here.
Earlier Thursday, a new salary schedule was agreed and signed upon by Director of Athletics Josh Whitman, Interim Chancellor Barbara Wilson, Vice President/Comptroller Walter Knorr, University Counsel Scott Rice and Smith himself. That change moved $2 million from Smith’s fifth and sixth years to his second and third years.