2 key details of John Calipari buyout prove Kentucky can pull the plug

The conventional wisdom says Kentucky won't fire John Calipari because of his giant buyout. Not so fast.

Kentucky Wildcats head coach John Calipari
Kentucky Wildcats head coach John Calipari / Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports

John Calipari has more losses to bottom-3 seeds in March Madness over the last five years than NCAA Tournament wins.

On Thursday, calls for Calipari to be fired grew after Kentucky lost to No. 14-seed Oakland in the First Round. Despite being double-digit favorites, the Wildcats were bounced in embarrassing fashion.

Yes, Calipari has won a national title at Kentucky, but 2012 feels a very long time ago now. Yes, he has taken the Wildcats to the Final Four four times and the Elite Eight seven times. But it's been five years since they did much of anything in the Big Dance.

It may be time to move on from Calipari, but one things stands in Kentucky's way: A $33 million buyout.

Or maybe not?

'Buyout Math' proves John Calipari's buyout is doable

Andy Staples of On3 addressed the Calipari buyout on Friday, essentially proving it's a poor excuse to not fire Calipari.

"Let me explain the buyout math...Is there anything due upfront? Or do you get to pay it evenly over the rest of the deal? Also, is there offset language? So if the person gets another job, does the salary from the new job get taken off the total?...Jimbo Fisher had no offset. He gets to keep all of that $77 million whether he gets another job or not. John Calipari does not have that in his contract," Staples explained.

That's not to say Calipari has no offset language. It's just different from Fisher.

"If John Calipari were to get another job — and presumably he's going to get a competitive salary job — let's say he gets a $3 million a year job, that comes off the total," Staples said.

So Kentucky is responsible for the remainder of Calipari's contract, but any money he makes from his next job will come off that total. So in reality, the $33 million buyout could actually be closer to $15 million if the coach made $3 million per year over the next five years at his new job.

The Wildcats also wouldn't have to pay a lump sum to Calipari.

"Kevin Sumlin when he got fired at Texas A&M, his entire buyout was due within 60 days...John Calipari's buyout, none of it is due upfront...it is due in equal installments paid monthly through the life of the contract, so through 2029," Staples said. "That's incredibly doable!"

When you consider the buyouts other schools have eaten to get out of a bad coaching marriage, a blue blood like Kentucky should be able to scrounge up the cash.

Loyalty to Calipari after his national championship win is the bigger hurdle. It's hard to dump a title-winning coach, but sports are a "what have you done for me lately?" business. And Coach Cal hasn't done anything good lately.

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