Nov 8, 2021 - Sports

Report: College teams paid over $500 million in dead money over 11 years

Data: ESPN; Chart: Jacque Schrag/Axios

Those looking for a lucrative career in sports should consider becoming a college football or basketball coach — and then getting fired.

State of play: FBS schools from Jan. 1, 2010, to Jan. 31, 2021, paid $533.6 million to their football and basketball coaches after firing them, per a new report from ESPN.

By the numbers: Football ($402.3M) accounted for 75% of the dead money, with men's ($116.3M) and women's basketball ($15.1M) making up the balance. Overall, 116 coaches were paid at least $1 million not to coach.

  • By conference: The SEC ($151M), Pac-12 ($114.1M) and Big Ten ($106.8M) paid far more than the Big 12 ($58.8M) and ACC ($40M). Non-Power Five schools combined for $62.8M in payouts.
  • By school: Five schools paid out at least $20M: Auburn ($31.2M); Nebraska ($25.8M); Texas ($21.5M); Ole Miss ($20.4M); Kansas ($20M).
  • By coach: Will Muschamp (South Carolina/Florida) led the way ($19.2M), followed by Charlie Strong ($11.8M, Texas/USF), Todd Graham ($11.1M, ASU) and Kevin Sumlin ($10.8M, Texas A&M/Arizona).

What they're saying: Amy Perko, CEO of the Knight Commission, views this as further evidence that college sports' financial structure is broken.

"Institutions threw away more than half a billion dollars ... on richly-compensated coaches, instead of using the money to support the education, health and safety of college athletes."
"If far-reaching steps aren't taken soon to control runaway spending on coaches, hundreds of millions of dollars will just continue to be wasted."
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