The future of Texas A&M Aggies’ head coach Jimbo Fisher hangs in the balance after a challenging 2022 season that left the fans, and possibly the board, questioning the worth of his hefty contract. After a less than stellar 5-7 record, speculation has ignited whether the Aggies might decide to part ways with Fisher if next season doesn’t go as planned, despite his sizable buyout clause. Let’s consider the implications of this scenario.
Fisher’s Buyout a Massive Eight-Figure Problem
On one hand, Fisher’s departure would eliminate a barrier to overhauling the team’s offensive strategies, a sector that fell significantly short of expectations last season. The Aggies’ standing at 101st in scoring offense, managing a meager 22.8 points per game, reveals a glaring need for change. Given the sizable exodus of players after the season’s close, it’s conceivable that the locker room might already be welcoming of fresh leadership.
However, financial considerations could weigh heavily on the Aggies’ decision. Fisher’s contract buyout is staggering – if they were to dismiss him post-2023, the bill would come to a whopping $77 million. Here’s how it shakes out year by year:
- Jan. 1, 2023: $85,950,000
- Jan. 1, 2024: $76,800,000
- Jan. 1, 2025: $67,550,000
- Jan. 1, 2026: $58,200,000
- Jan. 1, 2027: $48,750,000
- Jan. 1, 2028: $39,200,000
- Jan. 1, 2029: $29,550,000
- Jan. 1, 2030: $19,800,000
- Jan. 1, 2031: $9,950,000
Texas A&M is the first college football program ever to follow a #1 national recruiting class with a losing season.
Head coach Jimbo Fisher’s current buyout: $85.95 million. pic.twitter.com/NzByn2dknC
— Front Office Sports (@FOS) November 13, 2022
A quarter of this huge amount would be due within 60 days of termination, with the remainder paid in annual increments through 2031. This substantial sum could severely strain Texas A&M’s finances, even with a 2022 fiscal surplus of nearly $15.5 million.
The Aggies can’t fire Fisher without cause without costing themselves at least $50 million until 2027.
A Balancing Act for the Aggies
A payout of this magnitude could potentially limit the resources available for recruiting top-notch players and coaching staff, impacting the team’s ability to bounce back swiftly.
On the flip side, keeping Fisher on board, if the team continues to underperform, could adversely affect revenue from ticket sales, sponsorship deals, and media rights, not to mention the potential blow to the Aggies’ brand reputation. It’s a delicate balancing act between short-term financial losses and potential long-term gain.
As the SEC moves to ESPN-ABC in 2024, the new television rights deal could also play into the equation. The agreement is projected to net the league around $300 million annually, offering potential financial relief. However, it’s worth considering whether the image of a struggling Aggies under Fisher might impact these earnings.
Fisher’s future at Texas A&M hinges on several factors. However, Fisher is just one good season away from putting all the buyout talk to bed…for at least another year.
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