Nebraska football mailbag: Crunching the numbers on Huskers’ buyouts

mike riley-nebraska football-huskers buyots

Have Nebraska football questions? We’ve got answers. Join us every Wednesday for the Land of 10 Nebraska mailbag to talk all things Huskers. This week, we’ll discuss the financial impact Nebraska could face if coach Mike Riley is fired, a little recruiting, and bucket list college football games.

I’m glad you asked. I actually addressed this earlier this season, and I’ve noticed the piece that I wrote has picked up steam again. This gives me another opportunity to address the numbers surrounding another Nebraska buyout.

The answer to your first question is one, and that’s Bo Pelini. Nebraska owes him $128,009 per month, which was dropped from $150,000 per month after he was hired at Youngstown State. His buyout contract is on the books until February 2019.

If Nebraska parts ways with Riley, they’ll owe two coaches at the same time for a little over a year. Riley’s buyout contract would then extend through February 2021.

The math works out like this: If Riley is fired after the Iowa game (so, end of November), Nebraska would pay two coaches for 14 months totaling $4,172,126. On top of that, Riley would then be owed another $4.8 million if he didn’t land another job.

Can Nebraska afford to let Riley go? The short answer is yes, because Nebraska isn’t exactly hurting for money. However, you don’t want to keep going down this path and owing more and more buyouts. That’s something athletic director Bill Moos will keep in mind as he evaluates, because you’d like to find a stable replacement if Riley is let go. Even if you can afford it, nearly $9 million in buyouts still owed is a big deal (especially when that money could be used elsewhere).

I’m going to be upfront and honest about something: I had been a vocal member of the ‘keep Riley’ crowd for quite some time. I was even after the one-point win over Purdue, despite plenty of people calling me crazy for it. Where am I now? Well, it’s hard to justify keeping Riley with his results at this point.

Is firing him the answer? I think most people would say they had hoped it wasn’t. No one wants their program to come with a stigma, and plenty are worried that’s what’s happening to Nebraska. However, if Riley isn’t the right person for the job, it’s probably best to cut losses now and move forward even if there’s a perceived stigma that comes with it.

After all, if Nebraska can find the right coach that will win, a lot of those worries and concerns about a stigma will be lost (or at least I assume they would be).

Supportive of the coaches? Maybe it would buy some goodwill, but I doubt it. I think a lot of the fan base has settled on its opinion of Riley and his staff (for better or worse), and I don’t think any amount of support for certain traditions would change that.

Could that have been different if Riley had thrown his full support behind Black Friday football? Maybe, but winning is really the answer to everything. It may have built some additional goodwill, but I’m just not confident how much it would have mattered beyond that at the end of the day.

Contrary to popular belief, I don’t want to see Nebraska fail. It’s more fun for me when the Huskers are successful, and it can be very draining to cover when they’re not. That’s a selfish answer, but it’s true.

As for your second question, it’s hard to predict. The number I gave someone recently when it comes to recruiting was that maybe half of the current class would de-commit if Riley is gone. I could see Cameron Jurgens, Tate Wildeman, Masry Mapieu, Will Farniok and Barret Pickering staying committed regardless of what happens to this current staff. From there, I’m not as clear. Maybe someone will surprise me.

When it comes to current players, you might see some transfer. I won’t speculate on who, because that’s not fair of me to do right now but I’m sure someone would depart.

I’ve always wanted to go to two games: Harvard-Yale for ‘The Game’ and Texas-Oklahoma for the Red River Rivalry. Both intrigue me for different reasons, but both have a lot of history behind them. I think they’d be bucket list items on my college football to-do list.

He is currently the coach at the University of Central Florida, where he has led the Golden Knights to an 8-0 season. Oh, wait. Were you joking?

Have a question about Nebraska football? Tweet us @Landof10Huskers, and we’ll try to answer your question in a future mailbag. Check to see if your question already was answered by reading previous Nebraska football mailbags here.

The post Nebraska football mailbag: Crunching the numbers on Huskers’ buyouts appeared first on Land of 10.

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.

X