On top of a $1 million pay cut announced over the summer, Oklahoma State football head coach Mike Gundy’s deal was made far more school-friendly. The major overhaul in his deal came after a very controversial summer for the outspoken head coach.
The most significant controversy came after Gundy was spotted in an OAN shirt. The image of him promoting the far-right news network set off star running back Chuba Hubbard, who threatened to sit out the season if changes didn’t come to the program. He later patched up his relationship with the head coach, but said that the issues went far beyond a controversial t-shirt choice.
“This was about way more than a T-shirt,” Yahoo Sports‘ Pete Thamel was told by source close to the Oklahoma State football program back in late June. “Think about it. Chuba didn’t risk everything because of what channel Gundy watches. It was a lack of general respect for the well-being of the players.”
A school investigation of the Oklahoma State football program was launched over the summer. Athletic director Mike Holder said there were “no signs of indication of racism,” but that Gundy had to work better to build relationships with his players. His base salary was also docked with a new contract, a move that was not necessitated by the pandemic, Holder has stated. On top of that, we have more details on some adjustments made by Oklahoma State, all of which would make it easier to fire Gundy, or would benefit the program more if he left for another job.
— OklahomanSports (@OklahomanSports) August 28, 2020
The most significant changes come with Gundy’s three different buyouts. Each change moves in Oklahoma State’s favor, whether it is more money for the school with a departure, or less money paid out to Gundy if the program effectively fires him. The new contract is also a four-year rollover deal, bumped down one year from the structure of his deal before the summer.
From The Oklahoman:
Should Gundy leave, he would owe the university $4 million in his buyout, which had previously been $3 million.
If Gundy is fired for insubordination, the university owes him $500,000 for each year, or portion of a year, remaining on the contract. So, with his previous five-year deal, that would have been $2.5 million, but is now reduced to $2 million.
The university’s buyout for firing Gundy without cause decreased far greater. Under the previous contract, Gundy was entitled to 75% of what he was owed by the entire remaining contract. That resulted in Gundy’s buyout for the previous contract equaling roughly $17 million.
The new contract reduces that percentage to 50%, and with the one-year reduction in the length of the contract, plus the salary cut, the university’s responsibility in a buyout is cut nearly in half.
The new Mike Gundy deal also includes a “force majeure clause,” something that is pretty common for things like non-conference game deals, but not for coaching deals. Per the report, it gives “unilateral discretion” to the athletic director to adjust Gundy’s deal due to unforeseen circumstances like, for example, a pandemic, with 24 hours notice. Any potential reduction is tied to that of the AD’s though, with the terms stating that it “will be no greater than the percentage reduction and duration” of Holder’s deal.