UT's Cheek: No plan yet for funding coaching buyout

UT Chancellor Jimmy Cheek and UT AD Dave Hart earlier in 2012

UT Chancellor Jimmy Cheek and UT AD Dave Hart earlier in 2012

The University of Tennessee does not yet have a plan for how it will finance a multimillion-dollar buyout of former football coach Derek Dooley, who was fired Sunday, Chancellor Jimmy Cheek said Monday.

The university is “keeping every possibility on the table,” Cheek said, but declined to say whether university funds could be used to bolster a struggling athletics department budget.

“We don’t want to talk about any plans yet because we don’t have a solution,” he said before Monday’s Faculty Senate meeting on campus. “Academics and athletics are both very important to this university, and we want to make sure both are very successful. But we don’t have a plan yet.”

When a faculty member asked during the meeting if the university would consider using general fund money to backstop the athletic budget in the midst of the coaching change, Cheek said there were no plans to do that “at this time.”

Firing Dooley, who coached three seasons to finish with a 15-21 record, will be expensive. Dooley’s contract stipulates UT will have to pay out roughly $5 million for the remainder of his contract, in monthly installments of about $102,000.

Offensive coordinator Jim Chaney, if he is not retained by the new staff, is owed about $645,000 and seven other assistants working under multi-year contracts could be due as much as $3.71 million, depending on how quickly they find other jobs and how much those jobs pay.

The athletics department, meanwhile, finished its last fiscal year in June with a $4 million shortfall. It has about $2 million in reserve funds.

To cut costs, athletics announced 17 layoffs in April as part of the consolidation of the women’s and men’s athletic departments. The changes resulted in a $2.5 million savings. Athletics also gives about $5 million to the university each year for scholarships, graduate fellowships and discretionary funding.

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Comments » 40

HooRay_Vol writes:

Ricky Steamboat or the Iron Sheik should be our next coach!

twicevolalum writes:

This is such phooey. Why doesn't the University go get it from Mike Hamilton. He fired Coach Fulmer with no plan, no future for the athletic program, nothing but his own selfish desire to be the god of UT athletics with all new facilities and coaches. We are here, today, because of that situation. UT should sue him for the money.

ULTIMATEVOLUNTEER writes:

Wow! No plans on how to fund our decisions. Sounds like an extension of Washington D.C. May have to raise taxes....I mean ticket prices.

underthehill writes:

It appears those who thought the big donors would step up and just write a check for the buyouts may be off base a bit...

Vol1983 writes:

Cheek is incompetent and should be fired. He is as responsible as Hamilton for this mess.

killdevil writes:

and we all thought that a bad season in football was terrible......the financial woes of the university don't look real good either.....anybody checkout last night's 60 minutes session on money and college sports... its mad out their... it all started with ESPN.. I blame them... what they have done to college sports.... for the first time I stopped quit watching an ESPN televised game of UT.. to much... just tired of where its all going.., I dont guess it can be stopped.. nothing like watching a bunch of middle schoolers enjoying just playing the game...

northfan writes:

I'm sorry but 17 layoffs-I hope they get job's soon-at 2.5 mil is 147,000 in salary and benefits and we think we have a football problem. We need to clean house in the whole athletic dept.

FEARinSEC writes:

Looks like Hart is about to *****slap Cheek in that picture, lol!!

Cheek doesn't have any idea because Hart will be handling the buyouts. If you people don't think there is a plan in the works, then you are absolutely clueless. And KNS needs to learn timing. They asked at the wrong time.

onetruevol706 writes:

Just bring back Phil...should have keep him in the first place. i said that back then and we are still paying him anyway.

Memphis_VOL_Alum writes:

I've said it many times on this site. The buyout is very large, and if the donors don't step up and soon, Tennessee is in a world of hurt. Now on to the topic at hand...Who will become the next Headcoach at Tennessee? Lots of names being passed around. Now we will see if we can get the big name and splash we need or if we have to settle for another also-ran like coach Dooley.

I think I hear the winds growing to Hurricane force around the Tennessee program. Settle in VOL fans...its going to be a bumpy ride!

VolsVolsVols writes:

in response to onetruevol706:

Just bring back Phil...should have keep him in the first place. i said that back then and we are still paying him anyway.

Please tell us how much UT will pay Phil next month.

volsfan615 writes:

Jimmy Cheek is an idiot. He needs to be out with Dooley. Dang Florida boy

VolsVolsVols writes:

in response to underthehill:

It appears those who thought the big donors would step up and just write a check for the buyouts may be off base a bit...

It's been one day. You may be off base with your assumption.

underthehill writes:

in response to VolsVolsVols:

It's been one day. You may be off base with your assumption.

Could be ..I'm just thinking they would have been asked before this was made public..

VolsVolsVols writes:

in response to underthehill:

Could be ..I'm just thinking they would have been asked before this was made public..

I think you have to take any from Cheek with a grain of salt.

GloryDays writes:

The athletic department (football team) gives the university 7 to 9 million if their money every year. Alabama, Florida and others don't do that. Athletic dept needs to stop giving their money to a bunch of left wing nutty professors who sit around in the coffee shops.

CrankE writes:

Whereas UTAD has finally decided to cut ties with a loser of a head coach, I will personally cut a check for $100 to UTAD.

I've heard enough of this BS about "big money donors"-as if it's their problem alone, or as if they alone "own" the entire program or the University itself. Isn't that precisely what got us here in the first place?! The idea that a few deep pocketed individuals have all the say so and the rest of us have none? That they have sole ownership and we have none? That luxury club seating is the way for Neyland Stadium to maximize profitability? Rip it up and bring back the hard-a$z aluminum bleachers and 12" butt widths and true "cheap seats."

I've heard enough of this BS about how UT can't win when I know good and well that we can-and have. If 100,000 of my closest Volunteers can follow match me, problem solved.

I'm an alumni and it's MY University.

Less whining. More doing.

AllforTenn writes:

in response to CrankE:

Whereas UTAD has finally decided to cut ties with a loser of a head coach, I will personally cut a check for $100 to UTAD.

I've heard enough of this BS about "big money donors"-as if it's their problem alone, or as if they alone "own" the entire program or the University itself. Isn't that precisely what got us here in the first place?! The idea that a few deep pocketed individuals have all the say so and the rest of us have none? That they have sole ownership and we have none? That luxury club seating is the way for Neyland Stadium to maximize profitability? Rip it up and bring back the hard-a$z aluminum bleachers and 12" butt widths and true "cheap seats."

I've heard enough of this BS about how UT can't win when I know good and well that we can-and have. If 100,000 of my closest Volunteers can follow match me, problem solved.

I'm an alumni and it's MY University.

Less whining. More doing.

Good post. My university too, and all donations add up.

voodoo101 writes:

in response to killdevil:

and we all thought that a bad season in football was terrible......the financial woes of the university don't look real good either.....anybody checkout last night's 60 minutes session on money and college sports... its mad out their... it all started with ESPN.. I blame them... what they have done to college sports.... for the first time I stopped quit watching an ESPN televised game of UT.. to much... just tired of where its all going.., I dont guess it can be stopped.. nothing like watching a bunch of middle schoolers enjoying just playing the game...

This coaching carousel will keep escalating buyouts and salaries, and the media have done a lot to egg it along - gotta have an audience, so you need some controversy. Pros have turned college teams into farm teams with total disdain for academics and ethics. College costs are now in the insane category, and online classes are booming. It's like watching a slow motion train wreck, and collegiate athletics may not survive.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

Simple Cheek, deduct every nickel out of your salary for approving such a stupid buyout..Next!

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to CrankE:

Whereas UTAD has finally decided to cut ties with a loser of a head coach, I will personally cut a check for $100 to UTAD.

I've heard enough of this BS about "big money donors"-as if it's their problem alone, or as if they alone "own" the entire program or the University itself. Isn't that precisely what got us here in the first place?! The idea that a few deep pocketed individuals have all the say so and the rest of us have none? That they have sole ownership and we have none? That luxury club seating is the way for Neyland Stadium to maximize profitability? Rip it up and bring back the hard-a$z aluminum bleachers and 12" butt widths and true "cheap seats."

I've heard enough of this BS about how UT can't win when I know good and well that we can-and have. If 100,000 of my closest Volunteers can follow match me, problem solved.

I'm an alumni and it's MY University.

Less whining. More doing.

Not an alumnus of UT, but as a die-hard fan I'll chip in..GBO!!

blindpig writes:

I would gladly donate 100.00 a year to get the right coach. If 100,000 fans would be willing to pay this amount, we could get any coach that could be bought. If you want to be the best you have to go after the best. Nick Saban!

gobigorange5090 writes:

Why should Dooley be paid anything? He didnt do his job!

gobigorange5090 writes:

in response to GloryDays:

The athletic department (football team) gives the university 7 to 9 million if their money every year. Alabama, Florida and others don't do that. Athletic dept needs to stop giving their money to a bunch of left wing nutty professors who sit around in the coffee shops.

Amen!

FanNotSheep writes:

Typical. UT obviously had no plan for replacing Fulmer when they fired him, and the response to Kiffin's USC elopement was about as effective as Dooley's halftime adjustments in the (fill in the blank) game.

Tennessee fans must feel like Pappy O'Daniel in Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? felt when his "advisors" tried to come up with ideas to beat Stokes in the governor's race. Slack-jawed, speechless and "mite near hopeless."

underthehill writes:

in response to gobigorange5090:

Why should Dooley be paid anything? He didnt do his job!

Doing your job is not a requirement for receiving a huge buyout from UT ..you only need a contract. How do you ask or expect fans to support buyouts..I must be getting old..just can't adjust to modern ways...

VolsVolsVols writes:

in response to FanNotSheep:

Typical. UT obviously had no plan for replacing Fulmer when they fired him, and the response to Kiffin's USC elopement was about as effective as Dooley's halftime adjustments in the (fill in the blank) game.

Tennessee fans must feel like Pappy O'Daniel in Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? felt when his "advisors" tried to come up with ideas to beat Stokes in the governor's race. Slack-jawed, speechless and "mite near hopeless."

You're exactly right. How dare Cheek and Hart not call you today and personally explain all the details and processes involved in the coaching change. Don't they understand FanNotSheep is Gov O'Daniel?

voodoo101 writes:

in response to FanNotSheep:

Typical. UT obviously had no plan for replacing Fulmer when they fired him, and the response to Kiffin's USC elopement was about as effective as Dooley's halftime adjustments in the (fill in the blank) game.

Tennessee fans must feel like Pappy O'Daniel in Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? felt when his "advisors" tried to come up with ideas to beat Stokes in the governor's race. Slack-jawed, speechless and "mite near hopeless."

The generally accepted practice is to have a Plan B BEFORE you dump Plan A. If the Athletic Dept isn't stonewalling, we've got bigger problems than coaching.

VolinVirginia writes:

in response to onetruevol706:

Just bring back Phil...should have keep him in the first place. i said that back then and we are still paying him anyway.

Hey: now there's a GREAT idea: let's go back to what wasn't working in 2008.

pcorange writes:

The only way this becomes a huge concern is if we strike out hiring an exciting coach. For 10 years before Alabama hired Saban, you couldn't scour the earth and find an Alabama fan. Within a week of Saban's hire, they were coming out of the woodwork. You think Bama didn't get royalties off the sale of apparel, license plates, etc.? They added on to Bryant-Denny Stadium and it is now almost as big as Neyland. You think those increased ticket sales don't add up in a hurry? I heard that Alabama and LSU got 10 million each for playing in the BCS championship game last year. You get a coach in here who has a clue, this fan base will get fired up and before you know it Cheek and Hart will have more money than they know what to do with. SEC football is a huge business. Dooley had lost the fanbase, and that lost revenue coupled with piss-poor management by Hamilton, and we sit here with our reserve fund depleted. I think if Hart makes the right hire, paying for the buyouts will only be a short term problem. A lot of the fair weather Tennessee fans will ditch their Crimson for Orange when they see a good coach give UT a chance to be relevant again. That is one of the main reasons I thought Dooley should have been fired after Kentucky last year. A good number of us were already skeptical, but were on the fence. He lost me and a large percentage of the rest of the fanbase during that game. That proved to me, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that he was in way over his head. Ticket sales and merchandise sales had already slowed down, but they slowed to a snail's pace after that game. We started to think he was turning the corner this year, but the whole thing unraveled midway through the third quarter in the Florida game. Good management and getting the fans back will take care of the budget problem. We need a stopgap fix, the long term will take care of itself unless we hire another 2M dollar coach that nobody has ever heard of.

volfaninbuckeyeland writes:

in response to ULTIMATEVOLUNTEER:

Wow! No plans on how to fund our decisions. Sounds like an extension of Washington D.C. May have to raise taxes....I mean ticket prices.

You hit the nail on the head, UV. Sounds like UT is facing a fiscal cliff of its own, and the majority of politicians can only see taking more of other people's money istead of personal accountability as the only viable solution. In the case of DD's firing, I believe it's comparable to finding a HC who, like a CEO, comes in to give a company not only viability, but profitability. I never cease to be amazed at how such levels of incompetence in all aspects of society(government, business, college administrations) so significantly impact our lives. Hopefully, some common sense will be exercised as the AD tenuously navigates the process of seeking and signing a new HC and the BO nation will begin once again to enjoy, rather than endure, another Tenn football season.

chuckfromwoodberry writes:

If this is true Cheek and Hart should both be fired immediately. Ate they channeling Hammy?

MTSUVOL writes:

in response to GloryDays:

The athletic department (football team) gives the university 7 to 9 million if their money every year. Alabama, Florida and others don't do that. Athletic dept needs to stop giving their money to a bunch of left wing nutty professors who sit around in the coffee shops.

Amen brother!

govols0463 writes:

in response to killdevil:

and we all thought that a bad season in football was terrible......the financial woes of the university don't look real good either.....anybody checkout last night's 60 minutes session on money and college sports... its mad out their... it all started with ESPN.. I blame them... what they have done to college sports.... for the first time I stopped quit watching an ESPN televised game of UT.. to much... just tired of where its all going.., I dont guess it can be stopped.. nothing like watching a bunch of middle schoolers enjoying just playing the game...

I agree with you. I can't stand pro sports, and there's certain things about the college game that have been destroyed. When it cost $500 to take a family of 4 to a game, something is wrong. I've said for years, that high school football is the truest form of the sport where kids are out there just trying for the love of their school, and many with no chance at playing at any other level. And for those that thought the fans wouldn't be heard, by not attending games, buying concessions, merchandise, etc., their voice was clearly heard. The university lost over a million dollars in concessions, souvenirs, and ticket sales for the Troy game alone.

cdtnladyvols931#663910 writes:

in response to Vol1983:

Cheek is incompetent and should be fired. He is as responsible as Hamilton for this mess.

You are so right!!!! He doesn't know how to fund this mess!!!!! Just raise tuition! or demote or fire some of the women employees and give the ones at the top a raise!!!! Instead of firing & hiring coaches they need to fire some of the top executives! They are making a mockery of UT!

BadBob70 writes:

in response to GloryDays:

The athletic department (football team) gives the university 7 to 9 million if their money every year. Alabama, Florida and others don't do that. Athletic dept needs to stop giving their money to a bunch of left wing nutty professors who sit around in the coffee shops.

LOL. YOu obviously never went to UTK. I had professors who were to the right of Rush Limbaugh up there.

VolzsFan writes:

in response to VolsVolsVols:

Please tell us how much UT will pay Phil next month.

not enough for the most successful coach in school history and one of the most in SEC history.

Thanks again Hall of Famer....you rocked this place and now they have to deal with the fantasy land expectations you created via too much success.

ellerbee123 writes:

Does Cheek not have enough sense to realize that athletics funds basically everything when it does well. Obviously this man needs to hit the road with Dooley.

VolsVolsVols writes:

in response to VolzsFan:

not enough for the most successful coach in school history and one of the most in SEC history.

Thanks again Hall of Famer....you rocked this place and now they have to deal with the fantasy land expectations you created via too much success.

Phil's been paid plenty. Point was UT has made the final payment of his buyout. They are not "still paying him".

londrieme writes:

in response to GloryDays:

The athletic department (football team) gives the university 7 to 9 million if their money every year. Alabama, Florida and others don't do that. Athletic dept needs to stop giving their money to a bunch of left wing nutty professors who sit around in the coffee shops.

The University of Florida's athletics are run by the UAA which is a seperate entity financially from UF. The UAA covers all costs associated with athletics and donates around $6 million per year to the University of Florida's general fund.

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