The Razorback Foundation and former Razorback football coach Bret Bielema have settled their legal duel over how much he was owed after his firing in 2017.
Bielema, now the head coach at Illinois, will be paid an additional $3.5 million (less attorney fees, likely substantial given the number of lawyers and filings in the case). This will mean he’ll have been paid about $8 million of a buyout of $11.9 million, which was to be offset by his earnings.
The settlement frees the foundation from about $3.85 million in payments. It had resisted Bielema’s request for more because it contended he hadn’t tried hard enough to get a comparable job after his firing, which included work as a New England Patriot assistant. It stopped paying him in 2019. He sued and the Razorback Foundation countersued.
The parties issued this statement:
Today, the Razorback Foundation and Coach Bret Bielema are pleased to announce they have resolved their differences. The parties agreed to a framework in which Coach Bielema will receive two years and six weeks’ worth of payments under their 2017 Release and Waiver Agreement and the Razorback Foundation will be released from one year’s worth of payments. Under these terms, the Razorback Foundation will make a final payment of $3,529,167 to Coach Bielema, and he will release the Razorback Foundation from $3,850,000 in payments. Both parties will be required to dismiss their lawsuits and be responsible for their own attorneys’ fees. Upon completion of the settlement process, the Razorback Foundation will have paid Coach Bielema a total amount of $8,085,000 of the $11,935,000 set forth in the parties’ original agreement and will have been released from $3,850,000 in payments.
“We believe the resolution of this matter is in the best interest of the Razorback Foundation and our membership,” said Scott Varady, Executive Director of the Razorback Foundation. “We wish Coach Bielema and his family the best moving forward.”
“I am pleased to announce the resolution of our differences with the Razorback Foundation,” said Bielema. “We wish everyone in Razorback Athletics nothing but the best in the years to come.”
The parties and their counsel and representatives will not have any further comments.
The Razorback Foundation raises private support for the UA, in part through sale of premium seats at athletic events. The University itself, its treasury fattened by the SEC TV contract, now guarantees the buyout agreement with coaches.