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Expand chart
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."

Go deeper

The sad state of Florida collegiate football

Data: ESPN; Table: Axios Visuals

With two weeks left in college football's regular season, there's not a single major Florida program ranked anywhere close to the top 25 and just one team in the Sunshine State with a winning record.

Nov 18, 2021 - Sports

Catching up on the college conference realignment wave

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Sister Jean and the Loyola-Chicago Ramblers announced Tuesday that the school will be moving from the Missouri Valley Conference to the Atlantic-10 in 2023.

Why it matters: Loyola-Chicago is the 24th D-I school in the past five months to announce a new league affiliation — a reshuffling that began in July with a shocker: Oklahoma and Texas to the SEC in 2025.

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
Nov 18, 2021 - Sports

Florida's football woes

The Sunshine State is having a college football season to forget.

Driving the news: Entering Saturday, Florida's seven FBS programs are a combined 28-42. None are ranked, and just one has a winning record.