The boom of dead money in college sports

UniqueThis 22 November 5, 2021

Dead Money main image Dead Money main image

Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson famously warned mammas to not let their babies grow up to be cowboys. The country music stars might have encouraged them to be fired college coaches instead.

According to an ESPN analysis of financial records of athletics departments at public universities, FBS programs spent more than $533.6 million in dead money in an 11-year period from Jan. 1, 2010, to Jan. 31, 2021. That's money those programs owed coaches in football and men's and women's basketball who were fired without cause with time left on their contracts. The severance payments were made over several years or, in a few cases, in one lump sum.

Remarkably, the dead money total is actually much more than that. The financial records did not include payments for many of the coaches who were fired during or after the 2020 football and 2020-21 basketball seasons. In football alone, FBS schools committed another $107.6 million in severance pay before mitigation to fired coaches and their staffs in 2020.

Coaches who received more than $1 million
Nebraska paid the most dead money in women's hoops
Dead money payouts to strength & conditioning coaches
Total Power 5 dead money found
Total dead money payments for football
Total dead money payments for men's basketball
Total dead money payments for women's basketball

Additional payments: None

Total dead money payments for football
Total dead money payments for men's basketball
Total dead money payments for women's basketball
Basketball (M) head coach
Basketball (M) head coach
Basketball (W) head coach

Additional payments: None

Total dead money payments for football
Total dead money payments for men's basketball
Total dead money payments for women's basketball

Additional payments: None

Total dead money payments for football
Total dead money payments for men's basketball
Total dead money payments for women's basketball
Basketball (M) head coach
Basketball (M) assistant coach

Additional payments: $899K to 8 recipients

Total dead money payments for football
Total dead money payments for men's basketball
Total dead money payments for women's basketball
Basketball (W) head coach

Additional payments: $973K to 16 recipients

Total dead money payments for football
Total dead money payments for men's basketball
Total dead money payments for women's basketball
Basketball (M) head coach
Basketball (M) head coach

Additional payments: $3.8 million to 13 recipients

Total dead money payments for football
Total dead money payments for men's basketball
Total dead money payments for women's basketball
Basketball (M) assistant coach

Additional payments: $87.4K to 5 recipients

Total dead money payments for football
Total dead money payments for men's basketball
Total dead money payments for women's basketball
Basketball (M) head coach

Additional payments: $442K to 15 recipients

Total dead money payments for football
Total dead money payments for men's basketball
Total dead money payments for women's basketball
Total dead money payments for football
Total dead money payments for men's basketball
Total dead money payments for women's basketball
Basketball (W) head coach

Additional payments: None

Total dead money payments for football
Total dead money payments for men's basketball
Total dead money payments for women's basketball
Basketball (W) head coach

Additional payments: None

Total dead money payments for football
Total dead money payments for men's basketball
Total dead money payments for women's basketball
Basketball (W) head coach
Basketball (W) head coach

Additional payments: $1.7 million to 27 recipients

Total dead money payments for football
Total dead money payments for men's basketball
Total dead money payments for women's basketball
Total dead money for football
Total dead money for men's basketball
Total dead money for women's basketball
Basketball (M) assistant coach

Additional payments: $140K to 13 recipients

Total dead money payments from football
Total dead money payments from men's basketball
Total dead money payments from women's basketball
Basketball (M) assistant coach

Additional payments: $168K to 5 recipients

Total dead money payments for football
Total dead money payments for men's basketball
Total dead money for women's basketball

Additional payments: None

Total dead money payments for football
Total dead money payments for men's basketball
Total dead money payments for women's basketball
Total dead money payments for football
Total dead money payments for men's basketball
Total dead money payments for women's basketball

Additional payments: $462K to 6 recipients

Total dead money payments for football
Total dead money payments for men's basketball
Total dead money payments for women's basketball
Total dead money payments for football
Total dead money payments for men's basketball
Total dead money payments for women's basketball
Basketball (M) head coach
Basketball (M) head coach

Additional payments: $1.0 million to 10 recipients

Total dead money payments for football
Total dead money payments for men's basketball
Total dead money payments for women's basketball
Basketball (M) head coach

Additional payments: $767K to 18 recipients

Total dead money payments to football
Total dead money payments to men's basketball
Total dead money payments to women's basketball
Basketball (M) head coach
Basketball (W) head coach

Additional payments: $1.4M to 13 recipients

Total dead money payments for football
Total dead money payments for men's basketball
Total dead money payments for women's basketball
Basketball (W) head coach
Basketball (M) assistant coach
Basketball (W) head coach

Additional payments: $1.7 million to 23 recipients

Total dead money payments for football
Total dead money payments for men's basketball
Total dead money payments for women's basketball

Additional payments: None

Total dead money payments for football
Total dead money payments for men's basketball
Total dead money payments for women's basketball
Total dead money payments for football
Total dead money payments for men's basketball
Total dead money payments for women's basketball
Basketball (W) head coach

Additional payments: $3.8 million to 35 recipients

Total dead money payments for football
Total dead money payments for men's basketball
Total dead money payments for women's basketball

Additional payments: None

Total dead money payments for football
Total dead money payments for men's basketball
Total dead money payments for women's basketball

Additional payments: $2.4 million to 18 recipients

Total dead money payments for football
Total dead money payments for men's basketball
Total dead money payments for women's basketball
Basketball (M) head coach

Additional payments: None

Total dead money payments for football
Total dead money payments for men's basketball
Total dead money payments for women's basketball
Basketball (M) head coach

Additional payments: $387K to 43 recipients

Total dead money payments for football
Total dead money payments for men's basketball
Total dead money payments for women's basketball
Basketball assistant coach

Additional payments: $1.2 million to 18 recipients

Total dead money payments to football
Total dead money payments to men's basketball
Total dead money payments to women's basketball
Basketball (M) head coach

Additional payments: $768K to 8 recipients

Total dead money payments for football
Total dead money payments for men's basketball
Total dead money payments for women's basketball

Additional payments: $91K to 4 recipients

Total dead money payments for football
Total dead money payments for men's basketball
Total dead money payments for women's basketball

Additional payments: $407K to 4 recipients

Total dead money payments for football
Total dead money payments for men's basketball
Total dead money payments for women's basketball

Additional payments: $197K to 8 recipients

Total dead money payments for football
Total dead money payments for men's basketball
Total dead money payments for women's basketball
Basketball (W) head coach
Basketball (W) head coach
Basketball (M) head coach

Additional payments: None

Total dead money payments for football
Total dead money payments for men's basketball
Total dead money payments for women's basketball

Additional payments: $13.6K to 1 recipient

Total dead money payments for football
Total dead money payments for men's basketball
Total dead money payments for women's basketball

Additional payments: None

Total dead money payments for football
Total dead money payments for men's basketball
Total dead money payments for women's basketball
Basketball (W) head coach

Additional payments: $2.1 million to 14 recipients

Total dead money payments for football
Total dead money payments for men's basketball
Total dead money payments for women's basketball
Basketball (M) head coach

Additional payments: None

Total dead money payments for football
Total dead money payments for men's basketball
Total dead money payments for women's basketball
Basketball (M) head coach

Additional payments: $579K to 4 recipients

Total dead money payments for football
Total dead money payments for men's basketball
Total dead money payments for women's basketball
Basketball (M) assistant coach
Basketball (M) assistant coach

Additional payments: $1.2 million to 9 recipients

Total dead money payments for football
Total dead money payments for men's basketball
Total dead money payments for women's basketball
Basketball (M) head coach
Basketball (M) head coach
Basketball (W) head coach

Additional payments: $5.0 million to 24 recipients

Total dead money payments for football
Total dead money payments for men's college basketball
Total dead money payments for women's basketball

Additional payments: None

Total dead money payments for football
Total dead money payments for men's basketball
Total dead money payments for women's basketball
Basketball (W) head coach
Basketball (W) head coach

Additional payments: $69K to 6 recipients

Total dead money payments for football
Total dead money payments for men's basketball
Total dead money payments for women's basketball
Basketball (M) head coach
Basketball (W) head coach

Additional payments: None

Total dead money payments for football
Total dead money payments for men's basketball
Total dead money payments for women's basketball
Basketball (W) head coach
Basketball (M) assistant coach
Basketball (M) assistant coach
Basketball (M) assistant coach

Additional payments: $16K to 1 recipient

Total dead money payments for football
Total dead money payments for men's basketball
Total dead money payments for women's basketball
Basketball (W) assistant coach

Additional payments: $125K to 5 recipients

Dead money payments for football
Dead money payments for men's basketball
Dead money payments for women's basketball
Basketball (M) assistant coach
Basketball (M) assistant coach

Additional payments: None

Total dead money payments for football
Total dead money payments for men's basketball
Total dead money payments for women's basketball

Additional payments: $4.7 million to 45 recipients

Total dead money payments for football
Total dead money payments for men's basketball
Total dead money payments for women's basketball
Basketball (M) head coach

Additional payments: None

Total dead money payments football
Total dead money payments men's basketball
Total dead money payments women's basketball

Additional payments: $521K to 4 recipients

Total dead money payments for football
Total dead money payments for men's basketball
Total dead money payments for women's basketball
Basketball (W) head coach
Basketball (M) assistant coach

Additional payments: $740K to 6 recipients

Total dead money payments for football
Total dead money payments for men's basketball
Total dead money payments for women's basketball

Additional payments: $1.1 million to 22 recipients

Total dead money payments for football
Total dead money payments for men's basketball
Total dead money payments for women's basketball
Basketball (M) head coach
Basketball (M) head coach

Additional payments: $5.4 million to 33 recipients

Total dead money payments for football
Total dead money payments for men's basketball
Total dead money payments for women's basketball
Basketball (W) head coach
Basketball (M) head coach

Additional payments: $419K to 27 recipients

Total dead money payments for football
Total dead money payments for men's basketball
Total dead money payments for women's basketball
Basketball (M) head coach

Additional payments: $582K to 6 recipients

Total dead money payments for football
Total dead money payments for men's basketball
Total dead money payments for women's basketball
Basketball (M) head coach

Additional payments: $2.3 million to 26 recipients

Total dead money payments for football
Total dead money payments for men's basketball
Total dead money payments for women's basketball
Total dead money payments for football
Total dead money payments for men's basketball
Total dead money payments for women's basketball
Basketball (W) head coach

Additional payments: $897.4K to 19 recipients

Total dead money payments for football
Total dead money payments for men's basketball
Total dead money payments for women's basketball
Basketball (M) head coach

Additional payments: $3.5 million to 14 recipients

Total dead money payments for football
Total dead money payments for men's basketball
Total dead money payments for women's basketball
Basketball (M) head coach

Additional payments: $2.2 million to 23 recipients

Total dead money payments for football
Total dead money payments for men's basketball
Total dead money payments for women's basketball

Additional payments: $165K to 7 recipients

Total dead money payments for football
Total dead money payments for men's basketball
Total dead money payments for women's basketball
Basketball (W) assistant coach

Additional payments: None

Total dead money payments for football.
Total dead money payments for men's basketball
Total dead money payments for women's basketball
Basketball (M) head coach
Basketball (M) assistant coach
Basketball (M) assistant coach

Additional payments: $391K to 25 recipients

Total dead money payments for football
Total dead money payments for men's basketball
Total dead money payments for women's basketball
Basketball (M) head coach
Basketball (M) head coach

Additional payments: None

Total dead money payments for football
Total dead money payments for men's basketball
Total dead money payments for women's basketball
Basketball (M) head coach
Basketball (M) assistant coach
Basketball (M) assistant coach

Additional payments: $2.7 million to 35 recipients

Total dead money payments for football
Total dead money payments for men's basketball
Total dead money payments for women's basketball
Basketball (M) head coach
Basketball (M) head coach
Basketball (M) assistant coach

Additional payments: $72.7K to 4 recipients

Total dead money payments for football
Total dead money payments for men's basketball
Total dead money payments for women's basketball
Basketball (M) assistant coach
Basketball (W) head coach

Additional payments: $673K to 20 recipients

Total dead money payments for football
Total dead money payments for men's basketball
Total dead money payments for women's basketball
Basketball (W) head coach
Basketball (M) head coach
Basketball (M) assistant coach

Additional payments: $107K to 5 recipients

Total dead money payments for football
Total dead money payments for men's basketball
Total dead money payments for women's basketball
Basketball (M) assistant coach
Basketball (W) assistant coach
Basketball (W) assistant coach
Basketball (W) assistant coach

Additional payments: None

Total dead money payments for football
Total dead money payments for men's basketball
Total dead money payments for women's basketball
Basketball (M) assistant coach

Additional payments: $363K to 11 recipients

Total dead money payments for football
Total dead money payments for men's basketball
Total dead money p
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