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Coach can leave with no penalty
Most significantly, UGA has taken out a clause that Richt would have owed Georgia a minimum of $2 million had Richt left the school. That provision is gone. And so is any buyout, so now Richt can walk away at any time and owe nothing to Georgia.
"At the end of the day, I've always believed that money should not be a determining factor in people staying," Georgia athletics director Greg McGarity said. "That should not be an anchor behind somebody's neck. Life's too short. ... There's no question that Mark Richt wants to be at the University of Georgia. He and I are in a good place here."
Meanwhile, Georgia's obligation if Richt is fired has also been reduced: If he's fired at the end of the 2012 season, Richt will be owed $4.8 million. After that, it will be $2.4 million.
This revelation caused a bit of a stir in the space-time continuum of the Twittersphere last night. It really shouldn't have because contracts without buyouts are not that unusual.
Alabama's Nick Saban doesn't have a buyout in his contract and never has. In fact, Saban has never had a buyout in any coaching contract that he's worked under.
Clemson's Dabo Swinney has never had a buyout in his contract either, and just signed a new deal earlier this week.
Football isn't the only sport where high profile coaches are working under contracts with no buyout. Minnesota's men's basketball coach Tubby Smith has no buyout. John Calipari--Tubby's successor at Kentucky--just signed a new deal in which a puny $1.0 million buyout slides to zero in 2014.
No buyout means absolutely nothing.
If another school really, really wants to hire a coach away from a school, a buyout clause is not going to be an impediment to getting a deal done. If a school really believes that a change must be made, the buyout isn't going to stop a firing, either.
The only thing that no buyout contracts do is provide fodder for rival fans' speculation.