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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

May 12, 2010 at 10:33 PM

Willingham still getting paid — by Notre Dame (not UW)

We all know there are few constants in life. But a couple that are pretty dependable around here are the Mariners’ inability to hit and a story from a Chicago media source each spring detailing that Tyrone Willingham is still on the Notre Dame payroll.
And so the news arrived again today via the Chicago Tribune that Willingham was paid $650,000 last year by Notre Dame. As College Football Talk notes, that’s a pretty “cush buyout” that is still paying off almost five years after he was fired.
I bring this up for two reasons:
— One, it answers a question I get all the time about what Willingham is doing these days. The answer is, apparently, still cashing checks and probably not worrying about much of anything else as a result.
— And two, someone will inevitably ask if Willingham is also still being paid by UW.
The answer is no. UW had a much cleaner break with Willingham than Notre Dame apparently did (as a private school, UND doesn’t have to release contracts and the only way this info becomes public is when the school’s tax records become available each spring so no way of knowing how much longer these payouts will go).
Willingham’s UW contract called for a blanket $1 million payment for the last year of his contract, payable within 30 days of his termination. So UW’s obligation to Willingham was done by early 2009 or so.
That UW had to pay Willingham that $1 million, however, then hire Steve Sarkisian and pay him roughly $1.85 million for his first year, is one reason the UW athletic department had a $5.5 million deficit in the 2008-09 fiscal year, something I detailed last month. As I also wrote in that story, the lack of such an obligation, as well as an uptick in football-related revenue, should help bring expenses in line with revenues this year.

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