Tennessee’s Payment Plan

Derek Dooley is supposedly on the “hot seat” at Tennessee and many folks want to know the magic number of wins the Vols have to have for Dooley to keep his job.

I would argue his job is a little safer than most think:

Weaved among a litany of roots that shrunk the University of Tennessee athletic department’s financial reserve to below $2 million following the 2011-12 fiscal year was, “Changes in leadership,” according to a UT financial update released on Aug. 27.

With change comes residual effects.

“During the past four years, the athletics department has experienced a significant expense related to payments to former coaches in the sports of football, baseball and men’s basketball as well as former directors of athletics,” the release said.

According to the article, once a coach has been shown the door, the full amount of the related buyout is placed into an escrow account where monthly payments are made to this dismissed coach:

For instance, after inking a separation agreement with Fulmer effective Nov. 30, 2008, the coach’s full 48-month payout worth $6 million was placed in an escrow account, put on the books for the 2008-09 financial year, and ultimately paid out in $125,000 monthly installments.

The same applied for Pearl’s buyout of $948,728 paid out over 15 months following his March 2011 termination. As well as former baseball coach Todd Raleigh, who replaced Delmonico in 2007, and received a $331,657.531 buyout over 13 months after being fired in May 2011.

Even former athletics director Mike Hamilton got in on the action:

After his resignation in June 2011, and ultimately replaced by Hart, Hamilton, the former athletic director, signed a separation agreement for $1,335,000 to be paid out over 36 months.

He’s been receiving just over $37,000 per month since and will continue to do so until July 2014.

In case you are counting, that’s one football coach, one basketball coach, two baseball coaches and an athletic director that have been skeedaddled since 2007.  Seeing how UT’s overall athletic department financial reserve is now below $2 million, I think Dooley has a little more slack than most fans would think.