How Much Does Butch Jones’ Buyout Actually Cost?

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    Butch Jones’ buyout has been a hot topic of debate among Vol fans over the last month or so. And now there’s been a little clarification shined on that total.

    USA Today released their data on coaching salaries for every head football coach in the FBS, and they included the buyout costs for every head coach as well. And according to their data, Butch Jones’ buyout is $8,125,000, which is the 34th-highest in college football and 7th-highest in the SEC.

    Jones is making the 20th-most money in all of college football, and that translates to the 7th-highest total in the SEC as well. Nick Saban (1st), Kevin Sumlin (10th), Gus Malzahn (11th), Dan Mullen (14th), Jim McElwain (15th), and Bret Bielema (17th) rank ahead of Jones.

    Jones’ $4,110,000 in total annual payment means Tennessee has paid Jones $1,370,000 for each win this season thus far. The Vols are currently 3-4 and will face Kentucky this weekend. Kentucky’s coach, Mark Stoops, is the 22nd-highest paid coach in the country with an annual salary of $3,763,600. That means the Wildcats are getting a much better deal than the Vols, as they’ve paid Stoops $752,720 per win this season.

    Jones’ buyout actually isn’t too much higher than what Derek Dooley’s was when the Vols fired him during the 2012 season.

    According to an article from the Knoxville News Sentinel, Dooley’s buyout was $5 million in 2012. Tennessee paid Dooley in monthly installments of $102,049 from the time of his firing till December of 2016. Tennessee owed Dooley’s entire coaching staff nearly $9.36 million in potential buyout money.

    And according to another article from the News Sentinel, Jones’ coaching staff could cost close to $5 million extra in buyout money along with Jones’ $8 million-plus buyout. That would run the total buyout cost for firing Jones to over $13 million.

    But Tennessee is one of the most profitable universities in the entire country, so money shouldn’t be too much of a concern. According to information from the U.S. Department of Education, Tennessee turned the second-highest profit in the 2015-16 fiscal year, pulling in a whopping $107.1 million. Only Texas had a higher profit with $127.5 million.

    Throw in the fact that Tennessee has some very rich and influential donors and are helped out by money from the SEC Network, and the Vols shouldn’t have to worry about the money being an issue when the time comes to pay for the buyouts.

    Nathanael Rutherford
    Nathanael Rutherford is the managing editor and social media manager for Rocky Top Insider. Nathanael graduated from the University of Tennessee and cultivated a passion for the Vols while growing up in Knoxville a mere 10 minutes from Neyland Stadium. He's been a part of the RTI team since November of 2015 and has been the editor of RTI since June of 2017. If he's not talking or writing about Tennessee athletics, he's probably talking about Star Wars.