Buying out Ed Orgeron is an absurdly unrealistic solution for LSU

BATON ROUGE, La. — LSU defensive end Christian LaCouture would like you to stop with the silliness right now, please and thank you.

“It’s absurd,” the fifth-year senior said of talk that fans are eager to buy out Orgeron’s contract not even midway through Year 1. “Blame it on us.”

LaCouture is not providing an opinion. It is factually absurd to fire Orgeron this year because the cost to do so is prohibitive.

The tag for Orgeron’s contract buyout in 2017 is $12 million. If LSU pulled the trigger this year, it would be the second-largest buyout owed to a coach in college football history. The only coach to ever receive more money in a buyout is Charlie Weis, who got an estimated $18.97 million not to coach Notre Dame. And even Weis got a full five seasons to prove himself a failure.

Generally speaking, no one ever wants to be in the same paragraph as Charlie Weis — unless they’re an agent.

Though $12 million seems like a ridiculous buyout number, LSU is far from the only school offering that kind of security to a first-year coach. Lovie Smith, a head coach with no college experience, had a gaudy $19.3 million buyout in his first season at Illinois.

The costs of parting with Orgeron this year would run even deeper than the initial $12 million price tag. Keep in mind that LSU is still on the hook to pay Les Miles $125,000 a month for the next 65 months if he doesn’t accept another coaching job — a grand total of $8,125,000.

Without even factoring in the cost of a new coach, who would expect to be paid handsomely and likely demand an even larger buyout than Orgeron, LSU is already in a hole north of $20 million.

Continuing to be realistic, if Orgeron were fired, so too would be the man who hired him: athletic director Joe Alleva. Alleva’s contract, which pays $725,000 a year, runs through July 2020. So LSU would owe him money on top of the likely stiff price it would have to pay to anybody willing to dive into a less-than-desirable situation.

On top of that, don’t forget that LSU is still paying recently fired men’s basketball coach Johnny Jones a total of $1.2 million through 2019. None of these contracts can exactly be covered by the petty cash jar.

And that’s all strictly from a financial perspective.

The message sent by firing a coach after a single season would set off red flags to recruits and other head coaches. LSU is a great brand, but few brands are strong enough to overcome quagmire status. Qualified coaches who would otherwise gladly go after such a job would probably take a hard pass on LSU for that reason.

At this point, few LSU fans have put their money where some of their mouths are. That GoFundMe account that’s trying to raise the $12 million for the buyout? It’s at $340, of which $200 was provided by the guy who started the campaign.

Orgeron may be off to a rough start, but remember that it is just that — the start. LSU would be paying too much money to too many unemployed people for it to be the end.

Ed Orgeron buyout cost by year

Year Buyout
2017 $12 million
2018 $8.5 million
2019 $6 million
2020 $4.5 million
2021 $1 million

Biggest buyouts in college football history

Coach (School) Estimated Total Buyout
Charlie Weis (Notre Dame) $18.97 million
Mark Helfrich (Oregon) $11.6 million
Charlie Strong (Texas) $10.7 million*
Les Miles (LSU) $9.7 million
Bo Pelini (Nebraska) $7.9 million
Gene Chizik (Auburn) $7.5 million
Will Muschamp (Florida) $6.3 million
Sonny Dykes (Cal) $5.88 million
Charlie Weis (Kansas) $5.625 million

* Texas is only on the hook for an estimated $4 million to Strong over the next two years after he accepted the South Florida coaching job.

(Sources:, USA Today, Football Scoop, Forbes, San Antonio Express-NewsGolden Bear Report)

The post Buying out Ed Orgeron is an absurdly unrealistic solution for LSU appeared first on SEC Country.

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