Lane Kiffin FAU Contract Includes Cheap Buyout Clause

Lane Kiffin headshot from Facebook.

Coach Lane Kiffin and FAU are both pretending that his new contract will keep him at FAU for the long haul. The details of that contract have now been released and it shows the lie.

The contract purports to be a 10-year deal. Kiffin will earn a base salary of $950,000 a year. There are some other incentives and perks that add value, but they’re small potatoes compared to the salary and to what top college football coaches earn. Several coaches earn over $5M a year and Nick Saban gets over $11M from Alabama.

Kiffin is at FAU arguably because his somewhat controversial history made it difficult for him to get a job with a top team. See for example Fox Sports. He’s really at FAU to put in a few years demonstrating his competence (he is undeniably a brilliant coach) and stability until a top team is ready for him and needs him.

That’s where the buyout clause in his contract comes in. While it’s ostensibly a 10-year deal, Kiffin can leave at no cost starting January 1, 2022, six years before the end of the contract. If he leaves earlier there’s are set buyout amounts ranging from $2M if he leaves before the end of 2018 down to $500K if he leaves during the 2021 calendar year. Oddly the buyout amounts are cut in half if University President John Kelly stops serving in that “capacity” at any time during the term of the contract.

The Kiffin FAU buyout clause, from pages 11-12 of the contract.

As a side note, the wording of that part about the University President creates some big potential loopholes. If Kelly takes a sabbatical or a brief leave of absence, does that trigger the reduction? If he leaves the position after Kiffin quits, could Kiffin claw back half of whatever he paid?

If a major college football (or NFL) team decides they want Kiffin and are ready to pay him $5M or more, the $1.5M (2019) or $1M (2020) buyout price will be a trivial extra cost. This 10-year contract does little to keep Kiffin in Boca for any longer than the time it will take him to rehabilitate his reputation.

We hope we are wrong. We would love it if Kiffin would stay at FAU. He’s great for the team, for the university and for the community. But the reality is he’ll be gone by the end of 2020.

The full contract (pdf) is below:

Kiffin, Lane Contract 2d Amdt EXECUTED 6.20.18

Still No Signed Lane Kiffin Extension for FAU

Tweet from FAU Coach Lane Kiffin: https://twitter.com/Lane_Kiffin/status/943178921499090950

On December 19, 2017, football coach Lane Kiffin announced that he had reached an agreement with FAU for a 10-year contract extension. The extension still hasn’t been signed, according to FAU.

The same day the agreement was announced we submitted a public records request to FAU for a copy of the new contract. The immediate response, the next day, was that the contract had not been signed yet and would be forwarded to us when it was.

We followed up a few weeks later and were told:

Coach Kiffin’s extension is an agreement in principle and the written details are still being worked out. I will be provided a copy of the new contract when it is completed.

So we waited. Yesterday we asked again and an exchange of e-mails revealed that Coach Kiffin’s extension has not been signed, and that he is still working under the terms of the previous contract.

[T]here is no written contract yet with the extension. Coach Kiffin is still employed under the terms of his existing contract. He and the AD and President reached an agreement in principle on a ten-year extension, which is what he tweeted about. That verbal agreement in principle has not yet been reduced to a written contract.

This matters because some in college football think Lane Kiffin’s stay at FAU is only temporary until he lands a deal with a bigger football school.

From ESPN:

Since his coaching career began in 1997 as an assistant at Fresno State, Kiffin’s longest stop at one place was six seasons as an assistant at USC from 2001 to 2006. As a head coach, his longest stop also was at USC, where he was fired five games into his fourth season.

One would expect that the contract extension would make it harder for Kiffin to leave FAU. If it hasn’t been signed, that means he’s still relatively free to leave for somewhere else.

We would like to hope that Kiffin is here in Boca for the long haul. He’s a great coach and we’d love to see FAU continue to improve. But the lack of a signed extension suggests that he may still be waiting to see if a new opportunity comes up.

We reached out directly to Kiffin and to FAU Football but neither has responded.

Spanish River Football Wins

Thanks to a reader tip we’ve learned that the Spanish River High School football team, the Sharks, won their first game this year. Our reader tells us this is their first win since 2011, and sent us this photo, below:
sharks
The Sharks defeated Pope John Paul II High School by the score of 32-13. We were also able to track down a celebration video:

spanish-win
The Sharks’ next game is against West Boca rival Olympic Heights with new coach Berger.
You can see more photos from the game (400 of them) on their Facebook photo album for the game.
We do not have any statistics from the game yet, but will add them below if they come in.