AMELIA ISLAND, Fla. — In April of 2013, the Atlantic Coast Conference approved a grant of rights agreement with all 15 members to prevent another conference from coming in and poaching a member institution
It was a way the conference protected its future and ended the realistic possibilities of member schools wanting to leave.
So what if a school could do the same with its head coaches? What if Clemson could do something similar to assure Dabo Swinney would not leave the football program to coach at his alma mater, the Alabama Crimson Tide.
“If you look at the contracts of all the coaches in the country, that is not market,” Clemson athletic director Dan Radakovich said Monday to The Clemson Insider as the ACC hosted the first day of its annual spring meetings at the Ritz Carlton Resort in Amelia Island, Fla.
Granted, Swinney could still go and coach at Alabama if he chose to do so, but there is nothing wrong with Clemson wanting to keep it from happening.
Right now, if Clemson were do terminate its relationship with Swinney, it would cost the athletic department $40 million. However, if Swinney were to leave Clemson for another job, such as Alabama, it would cost Swinney just $6 million and it is going to go down after this season.
Swinney’s buyout is the largest among the top 5 highest paid coaches in the country. However, $6 million is probably not enough to keep Alabama away should current Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban retire at the end of the 2018 season.
“Only one can happen,” Radakovich said.
A good example of where a buyout isn’t enough is what happened at Florida State last year. When Texas A&M came after Jimb Fisher, there was nothing FSU could do to keep him from leaving.
Fisher had to pay a $7 million buyout to leave FSU last winter, which considering he received a $75 million contract, $7 million was no big deal. However, if FSU had gotten ride of him first, it would have cost the school $38 million.
“There is not a coach out there that has an equivalent (contract) that has got to where Dabo is, or where Nick is, or where Urban (Myer) is, or where Kirby (Smart) is right now that has a buyout that is equivalent to the school’s buyout,” Radakovich said. “We can’t get there.”