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Scott Frost Buyout & Contract Details

After firing Scott Frost Sunday, Nebraska now owes him a serious buyout. Here’s how much it will cost the university to cut ties with their head football coach.

Late in Nebraska’s Week 2 game against Georgia Southern on Saturday, chants of “fire Frost” rained down from the Cornhuskers’ student section.

By Sunday morning, barely 15 hours after the game ended, the students got their wish. The Cornhuskers officially fired head football coach Scott Frost after a 1-2 start to the season and an embarrassing 45-42 loss to the Eagles Saturday night.

Frost’s Nebraska tenure lasted four-plus seasons. In that time, the Cornhuskers never finished the season with a winning record or won more than three Big Ten games in a season. He went a total of 16-31 in Lincoln.

But while Frost’s tenure as Nebraska coach may be over on the field, their financial relationship will last a while longer. His contract with the university includes a hefty buyout that, barring some sort of agreement between the two sides, will pay Frost through 2026.

Boardroom breaks down the size and structure of what Nebraska owes its now-former coach below.

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Scott Frost Buyout Details

The timing of Frost’s ouster shows just how dire the situation is in Lincoln. By letting him go on Sept. 11 rather than waiting just three more weeks, Nebraska has to pay him double what it otherwise would have.

Here’s how the contract handles a termination prior to Oct. 1, 2022:

  • Nebraska will pay Frost $5,000,000 per year between now and the end of 2024. That $5,000,000 for 2022 is prorated to account for the late date on the calendar.
  • For 2025 and 2026, Nebraska owes Frost $2,500,000 per year.

For those who didn’t major in math, then from 2023 to 2026, Nebraska will pay Frost $15,000,000, plus whatever remains of the $5,000,000 he’s owed for this year.

That may sound like a lot, but remember: The university makes several times that per year as part of the Big Ten’s media rights agreement. Even better, that total is expected to increase in the near future.

If Nebraska had waited three more weeks to let Frost go, his buyout would have dropped significantly, and because the school has a bye the weekend of Sept. 24, Frost would have had to coach just two more games. In that scenario, the Cornhuskers would be on the hook to pay Frost just $2,500,000 per year until 2024, then $1,250,000 over the final two years of the buyout period, for a total of $7,500,000, plus the $2,500,000 for 2022, prorated for now to the end of the year. So, by firing him now, Nebraska is agreeing to pay Frost an extra $7,500,000.

The university had originally only signed Frost through 2024, but gave him a two-year extension in 2019 after the Cornhuskers posted a 5-7 season.

Not a bad deal for Frost, especially considering what Nebraska has paid to date.

The Frost Cost

It’s easy to forget now, but Frost came to Nebraska after leading the UCF Knights to a perfect 13-0 season and a claimed national championship. To land him, Nebraska had to pay Central Florida a $3,000,000 buyout. Since then, they have paid Frost $5,000,000 per year over four seasons and had him under contract for an additional $4,000,000 in 2022.

Nebraska and Frost had agreed to several performance bonuses for on-field success, but he failed to achieve any of them over the course of his tenure.

All told, he has made nearly $24,000,0000 in salary so far, plus the $15,000,000-plus that the university is on the hook for. Throw in the initial buyout and Nebraska will have spent in the neighborhood of $42,000,000 on Frost by the time 2026 ends.

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About The Author
Russell Steinberg
Russell Steinberg
Russell Steinberg is an editor and writer at Boardroom. He came to the brand in 2021 with a decade of experience in sports journalism, primarily covering college basketball at SB Nation as a writer, reporter, and blog manager. In a previous life, he worked as a social media strategist and copywriter, handling accounts ranging from sports retail to luxury hotels and financial technology. Though he has mastered the subtweet, he kindly requests you @ him next time.