LSU football: What is Ed Orgeron’s buyout?

LSU head coach Ed Orgeron. (Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports)
LSU head coach Ed Orgeron. (Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports) /

After a season-opening loss to UCLA, inquiring minds may wonder-what is LSU head coach Ed Orgeron’s buyout?

After an undefeated national title run in 2019, LSU and head coach Ed Orgeron had to reset last season. Add in the COVID-19 pandemic, with player opt-outs etc., and a disappointing 5-5 mark came. All things considered, even with high expectations, Orgeron and the Tigers get a mulligan for 2020.

Entering Saturday night’s season opener on the road against UCLA, LSU was a narrow favorite and it was easy to put them on upset alert. The 16th-ranked Tigers indeed left the Rose Bowl with a 38-27 loss, another bad mark on Orgeron’s record over the last 11 games. After losses to Mississippi State, Missouri and Auburn last year, Orgeron took accountability for the team’s shortcomings. Wins over Florida and Ole Miss ended the season on a higher note, even if they only saved the Tigers from finishing below .500.

LSU football: How much is Ed Orgeron’s buyout?

After the national title run, Orgeron was rewarded with a six-year, $42 million contract. This year, according to USA TODAY’s salary database, he’s the second highest-paid coach in college football ($8.9 million).

Any talk about a college coach’s job status automatically has to include buyout information. Exactly how much the pandemic impacted athletic department revenues over the last 18 months or so is unclear, but it surely did hurt. That lack of money stands to impact hiring/firing decisions in the short-term.

According to the The Advocate, barring any revisions over the last year-plus that were not made public, Orgeron’s buyout is 70 percent of whatever his remaining salary is. This year, the second of the deal, that makes his buyout $21 million.

LSU shouldn’t have any trouble with their next two opponents–McNeese State and Central Michigan. But after that SEC play starts, with the only respite the typical one for a lot of the conference in November (Lousiana-Monroe on Nov. 20).

Until further notice, and if only mostly from the outside at this point, Orgeron is firmly on the hot seat. An in-season firing seems unlikely, but another finish around .500 is definitely possible (a tentative mark of 7-5 before a bowl game is easy to get to). If LSU is willing to eat $21 million to let him go, as the shine of that national title fades Auburn-Gene Chizik style, Orgeron will be gone.

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