With Bret Bielema’s lawsuit against the Razorback Foundation on Friday we apparently are going to find out how contracts are simply the starting point for negotiations when they are broken.
The fact of the matter is this has been coming for awhile and I raised the question last year after Mike Anderson was fired and landed the St. John’s job a month later.
What’s probably going to result in all this is a settlement.
The guess here is the Foundation is willing to pay for the mistake of hiring an incompetent buffoon but not for one too lazy to go get another job.
Bielema’s argument is essentially he’s only qualified to be a head coach at the collegiate level and as lazy as Butch Jones, who was fired at Tennessee because he didn’t win enough games a few weeks before the axe fell in Fayetteville.
Jones entered the Nick Saban Rehab program for coaches with Alabama for minimum wage while Bielema took the volunteer role with the New England Patriots.
The argument could be made they are both lazier than Chad Morris. Seriously.
Morris didn’t win an SEC game and was fired less than two seasons into his time at Arkansas. A couple of months later he landed the offensive coordinator job at Auburn for $745,000 a year, which is then knocked off what he’s owed from the Foundation.
Bielema cites interviewing for head coaching spots at Michigan State and Colorado as proof he’s pursued other jobs. Apparently he feels he’s over-qualified for anything below being a head coach at the collegiate level.
Whether he actually WANTED those two jobs or not is something that could be uncovered in depositions and legal stuff that goes on in these deals.
It started with Jeff Long’s overblown ego negotiating a contract without adult supervision he was never going to have to cash.
That’s exactly what happened. When the Razorbacks beat Texas in the Texas Bowl down in Houston the official party later fueled a need to somehow give Bielema a contract extension that doomed the program.
Long had hired a coach that had a resume built on the success of others and managed to convince some folks it was a home run hire. At the time I said on the air it was worst hire for the Hogs since Otis Douglas in 1950.
Ensuing events trumped Bielema’s hire, but nobody ever accused Morris of being lazy. Neither had a clue what they were doing at the SEC level or even how to go about it.
Bielema waddled around in flip-flops and outfits that looked more like pajamas than coachimg attire, blew off visiting recruits and their families while spending so much time on Dickson St. he had a private room behind a place down there.
Morris just kept running (literally) in circles spouting cliches and hoping something would change. Either that or he assumed he had more time.
Jones apparently accepted a job at Maryland as associate head coach and tight ends coach when Mike Locksley got the job but did a U-turn and stayed at Alabama, getting promoted to the role of special assistant.
This mess Razorback football finds itself in should be dumped in the lap of Long. Most of his insecurities were wrapped in arrogance to mask incompetence. That happened because people higher up the pecking order let it happen.
Bielema wallowed around and basically got the NFL equivalent of a volunteer position with the New England Patriots for NFL minimum wage, mainly because he had a pretty good check coming from Arkansas. He collected close to $5 million of his $12 million severance.
The truth is they probably should have just stopped paying him sooner.
Whether that was the thought process or not is pure speculation, but there’s going to have to be some NFL teams open up some books. Coaches may have to give explanations.
The lawsuit Bielema filed Friday in Washington County could lead down some interesting paths. When you have at least two NFL teams involved and at least SEC teams that’s what we will probably get.