After some FOIA requests by local media, UC has coughed up contract details on the extension Tommy Tuberville agreed to in April and signed on October 1, presumably just hours before the ‘Cats got their skulls smashed by USF at Nippert. I won’t debate the merits of this extension, because it makes very little sense and only makes me angry. Instead, let’s look at how we can get out of it:
Tuberville’s old contract included a buyout provision that sat at $1 million until February 1, at which point it would’ve dropped to $550,000. The new contract’s buyout is $2.4 million until December 6. On December 7, it drops to $1.5 million.
He’s (Still) Not Getting Fired Before December
Don’t let the $2.4 million worry you. It sounds like a lot of money, but it’s absolutely meaningless. That was Tuberville’s assurance that he wouldn’t get fired during this season. Yes, it means he won’t be fired before the season is over. However, he wouldn’t have been fired anyway. Coaching changes rarely happen mid-season in college, and basically never happen at Cincinnati. Anyone expecting to hear news of a coaching move this week was fooling themselves.
Here’s What’s New
The big change here is this: Under his old contract, Tuberville’s buyout following the season was $1 million. Under the new contract, it’s $1.5 million.
I know the $550,000 number is appetizing, but that’s kind of another meaningless number. UC never would’ve made it that far. It didn’t drop to that number until February 1, and you can’t fire your coach and start the hiring process in February. That’s too late.
The Bad News
UC has to pay $1.5 million to fire Tuberville in December instead of $1 million.
The Good News
Moving the date in which the buyout drops from February 1 all the way up to December 7 is an intentional move on UC’s part. Again, I don’t understand why this extension was offered in the first place, but the decrease in buyout money in December was written with a firing in mind.
Honestly, I almost like the new extension details because they incentivize a coaching change immediately following the season, which is the most likely time to make a move anyways. Rather than entering this offseason and wondering if UC will make a quick move (and fire Tubs in December) or wait until February (and save $450k), now they have every incentive to drop the ax quickly. If Tuberville doesn’t get fired this December, he isn’t going anywhere until the end of the 2017 season. The new deal is very straightforward in that regard. We now have some clarity.
The Bottom Line
Old contract or new, the most likely time of a firing has always been December. What would’ve cost UC $1 million will now cost them $1.5 million. That’s their fault, and they’ll have to deal with shelling out that extra cash. However, the new contract gives us a D-Day. Circle December 7, 2016 on your calendar. The UC athletic department has every reason to drop Tubs and throw themselves into the 2016 coaching carousel with the rest of the college football world, and now we have a hard and fast date to watch.
UPDATE: Since I’ve seen people saying both, I should clarify that I’m not sure if “D-Day” is December 7 or December 8. The Vogel tweet says “BEFORE December 7” not “December 7 or before.” It sounds like the buyout drops starting on December 7. I haven’t seen the contract to know what the exact wording is, but it’s my impression that the first day UC can afford to fire Tuberville is December 7. I may be wrong, in which case it’s December 8.
Not that it really matters.