If Nebraska Fires Scott Frost, What’s the Buyout?

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(Photo by Bob Cullinan/Shutterstock)
Andrew Doughty Aug 29, 2021, 11:30 AM

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 42-year-old 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 later, Moos is gone, Nebraska is 12-20 in Frost’s first three seasons, and it doesn’t appear anyone is having fun in Lincoln.

Is Frost on the college football hot seat in his fourth season? If so, 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.

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 new deal includes 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 is fired, for simplicity’s sake, on Dec. 31, 2021 – i.e., the final day of the second year of his contract – Nebraska would owe him $5 million for 2022 and $2.5 million for each of the final four years. Buyout total: $15 million.

Here’s the annual buyout breakdown beyond this season:

  • Dec. 31, 2022: $10 million
  • Dec. 31, 2023: $7.5 million
  • Dec. 31, 2024: $5 million
  • Dec. 31, 2025: $2.5 million

Here’s the language from his contract:

“University shall pay Coach for the period remaining in the Term, effective as of the date of termination . . . an amount equal computer as follows: (1) Five Million Dollars ($5,000,000) per year or any portion of a year remaining in the Term prior to and through December 31, 2022, and (2) Two Million Five Hundred Thousand Dollars ($2,500,000) for any year or portion of a year remaining in the Term after December 31, 2022.”

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. Such employment can’t guarantee Frost more than $5 million annually through Dec. 31, 2022, or $2.5 million annually after Dec. 31, 2022. If it does, the buyout is wiped out.

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.

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About the Author

Andrew Doughty

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Andrew Doughty is a writer for BetMGM and host of High Motor by BetMGM, an NFL and college football podcast available on Apple Podcasts and everywhere else.

Andrew Doughty is a writer for BetMGM and host of High Motor by BetMGM, an NFL and college football podcast available on Apple Podcasts and everywhere else.