ATHENS — Mark Richt’s decision to take the Miami job doesn’t affect how much money he’s owed by the University of Georgia. But it’s different story for Jeremy Pruitt and Brian Schottenheimer, and what happens over the next month means a lot financially.
Richt will receive $4.1 million from UGA as a buyout through the terms of the contract he agreed to earlier this year, though he had yet to sign it. Georgia athletics director Greg McGarity has said that the school will honor the agreed contract.
The fact that Richt has taken the Miami job does not absolve UGA from paying the full buyout, according to a reading of his contract and verified by a source familiar with the situation. That’s because the decision was made by UGA to fire Richt, thus putting him on the market.
But the contracts for Pruitt and Schottenheimer offer a different reading, as they’re set up differently.
Pruitt and Schottenheimer are each still under contract for two more seasons after this one. The buyout on each of their deals is the remaining salary, so in Pruitt’s case (his salary is $1.3 million) it would be approximately $2.6 million, and for Schottenheimer it would be approximately $1.9 million.
Neither is expected to be retained by incoming head coach Kirby Smart. (Though it has yet to be ruled out, as Smart has not said anything publicly yet.)
If either Pruitt or Schottenheimer accepts another job between now and when Smart takes over, then UGA is essentially in the clear on their buyouts. Again, that’s according to a reading of their contracts and a source familiar with the situation.
But if Pruitt or Schottenheimer has not accepted a job by the time they are officially not retained by Smart – in essence, fired – then they are owed their buyout.
However, unlike Richt, if either coordinator subsequently takes another job then whatever they are earning would be prorated out of what UGA owes them.
Put another way: The best-case scenario for UGA is both coordinators leave before the new staff is in place. The next best-case is they at least take jobs for next year at some point. The worst-case scenario is they sit out 2016 and simply collect their salaries from UGA.