Nebraska athletics director Bill Moos hailed Scott Frost as the “premier young” college football coach during Frost’s introductory press conference as the Huskers’ new coach in December 2017. Moos “got the pick of the litter” in landing the Lincoln native and former Nebraska quarterback.
Moos was right; Frost was the premier young coach whom everyone wanted in the 2017 coaching cycle. And then Moos said, “We’re going to have a lot of fun. We’re going to build this program back.”
Four years years later, Moos is gone, Nebraska is 15-29 under Frost, and it doesn’t appear anyone is having fun in Lincoln.
Frost is undoubtedly on the college football hot seat entering his fifth season. And if he’s fired this year, what’s his buyout?
What is Scott Frost’s Contract?
Nebraska paid a $3 million buyout to UCF to land Scott Frost in December 2017 and promptly signed him to a seven-year, $35 million deal that ran from Jan. 1, 2018, through Dec. 31, 2024. The deal paid him an annual salary of $5 million.
Despite nine total wins – and a 6-12 Big Ten record – in his first two years, Frost was given a two-year extension after the 2019 season. While it didn’t include an annual raise, nor did his performance bonuses increase, it essentially reset his original deal and altered his buyout structure.
The new deal, signed on Dec. 8, 2019, runs from Jan. 1, 2020, through Dec. 31, 2026. But midway through an eventual three-win campaign in 2021, the sides agreed to a new salary and bonus structure, which, among other terms, reduced Frost’s 2022 salary to $4 million.
What is Scott Frost’s Buyout?
The original deal called for a $5 million buyout for each of the first five years and a $2.5 million buyout for each of the final two years.
The deal signed after the 2019 season included a $5 million buyout for each of the first three years:
- 2020: $5 million
- 2021: $5 million
- 2022: $5 million
And a $2.5 million buyout for each of the final four years:
- 2023: $2.5 million
- 2024: $2.5 million
- 2025: $2.5 million
- 2026: $2.5 million
If Frost was fired, for simplicity’s sake, on Dec. 31, 2021 – i.e., the final day of the second year of his contract – Nebraska would’ve owed him $5 million for 2022 and $2.5 million for each of the final four years. Buyout total: $15 million.
And under the previous contract, the annual buyout breakdown beyond the 2021 season:
- Dec. 31, 2022: $10 million
- Dec. 31, 2023: $7.5 million
- Dec. 31, 2024: $5 million
- Dec. 31, 2025: $2.5 million
The amended deal signed in 2021 reduces the buyout from $15 million to $7.5 million if Frost is fired after Oct. 1, 2022. If fired before Oct. 1, 2022, he’s still owed the $15 million per the same terms as the previous deal.
The contract language remains mostly intact, stating the buyout can be lowered if Frost “obtains other employment in a football capacity” with an FBS or FCS program or in the NFL during the term of the contract. If such employment occurs under those terms, Nebraska, at its sole discretion, can either reduce Frost’s pay by the difference between his new salary and the monthly prorated amount of the previous contract or pay Frost a lump sum equal to the difference between the buyout amount and contract value.