Buying out Scott Frost’s contract before October cost University of Nebraska millions more
Paying out Frost’s $16.4 million firing package will put the Huskers at the top of the list of college sports coaching buyouts.
(WOWT) - Last week’s dismissal of Scott Frost from his position as head coach of the Huskers football team is costing millions more than it would have had that decision been shelved for three more weeks.
It’s also earned Nebraska a No. 1 ranking for a more notorious reason than performance on the field: Assuming the finalization of Frost’s walk-away deal of about $16.4 million following his dismissal on Sept. 11, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln will be on the hook for the most coaching contract buyouts than any other school in the country.
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Even without the Frost buyout, Nebraska is already at the top of the list for the Big Ten football and basketball buyout spending.
But had the university waited just three weeks — and allowed Frost to coach two more games — that particular bill would have been reduced by half because of additional details added to his contract late last year. Firing Frost after the Oct. 1 homecoming game against Indiana, which will follow a bye week after Saturday’s loss to Oklahoma, would have cost Nebraska about $8.7 million.
Frost was initially hired at an annual salary of $5 million on a contract that officially began with Nebraska in full on Jan. 2, 2018, after he completed his final coaching duties with the University of Central Florida at the team’s Peach Bowl appearance. That initial contract would have expired at the end of 2024.
According to documents filed on nebraska.edu, Frost signed three addendums to his contract: the first on Dec. 9, 2019; and two in 2021 — the second addendum on Nov. 11 and the third on Dec. 10, 2021, which mostly just clarified the end of his $5 million salary period.
In addition to reducing his annual salary by $1 million, the November addendum put date ranges — starting on Oct. 1, 2022 — on the amounts he would be paid if dismissed before the end of his contract. With his firing happening in mid-September, Frost walks away with about $1.4 million for the rest of 2022, $5 million each for 2023 and 2024, and $2.5 million each for 2025 and 2026.
A dismissal on Frost’s original contract would have pro-rated the rest of 2022 based on a $5 million annual salary, then paid him $2.5 million annually thereafter through the remainder of his contract. It also included a stipulation that if he got a job at another NCAA Division I school, or the NFL, those payout totals would be reduced by any salary not exceeding those amounts.
The first addendum to his contract extended his contract by two years, ending Dec. 31, 2026. It also states that if he was let go without cause — “cause” being specifically outlined in other parts of his contract — he would receive the daily prorate on his $5 million salary through the rest of that year and continue to receive that annual salary payout structure through the end of 2024, at which time the payout salary would be lowered to $2.5 million for each of 2025 and 2026.
The November addendum reduced Frost’s annual salary to $4 million through the end of 2026 and restructured potential “liquidated damages” to a more specific timeline. If fired under the new contract, Frost would then be paid $2.5 million through the end of 2024; and $1.25 million for 2025-2026 — but only if he was let go after Oct. 1, 2022.
Because he was dismissed before Oct. 1, those amounts doubled. Frost is now being paid according to a $5 million annual salary structure — even though his contract had been reduced his salary to $4 million less than year earlier — through the end of 2024. He will then be paid $2.5 million annually for each of 2025 and 2026.
No contract extensions included any payments if he had been fired at any point in 2027.
BONUSES & UCF BUYOUT
Frost’s initial contract did include a bonus structure for “exceptional performance,” which would have awarded him either $100,000 if the team won or tied for the western division title for the Big Ten; $200,000 for appearing in the Big Ten Conference championship game; or $300,000 for winning the conference title.
Similarly, if the Huskers went to a bowl game, he would have received either $150,000 for any bowl appearance not in the College Football Playoff; $250,000 for any CFP bowl game appearance; $350,000 for appearing in the CFP championship game; or $650,000 for winning a national championship.
His original contract also noted that $3 million was paid to the University of Central Florida to cover the early termination of his contract there.
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