Bobby Petrino has agreed to accept the head coaching position with the University of Louisville.  While the contract itself has not been made available to the public, the terms in general were disclosed during the introductory press conference.  The contract is reportedly 7 years for $3.5 million per year.  There is a buyout of $10 million dollars which will diminish over the course of the contract.  (It is said that the buyout begins to shrink after the fourth year.)

While $10 million is a hefty number, Tom Jurich did not seem too concerned about the term.  In fact, during the presser, Jurich stated that Petrino had told him that he could make the buyout $100 million.  So why didn’t they?

I will give Petrino the benefit of the doubt on this one.  Surely, he wasn’t this coy.  A buyout of $100 million dollars would never be enforceable.  In the law, there is a concept of unconscionability.    What it means in short is that you cannot have an agreement that is blatantly one-sided.  In law school it was described as this:  “an agreement so one sided that no honorable person would propose it, and no sane person would consider it.”

Certainly, if there were a $100 million dollar buyout, no court would ever enforce it.  What is the limit?  Hard to say.  There are so many factors that a court could look to in determining the limit that there is no set criteria.  $20 million, maybe…  But the further out figure is, the less likely a court is to enforce it.

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Keith Poynter

Keith Poynter graduated from the Louis D. Brandeis School of Law in May of 2011. While in law school, Keith studied Sports Law as well as other core curriculum. Prior to becoming an attorney, Keith worked in the insurance industry for 6 years, and was a police officer in both Kentucky and Tennessee for 6 years. As an avid sports fan, former basketball official and current youth sports coach, Keith is heavily involved in sports when not at work or with his family at the lake. Keith's diverse background makes him an excellent source for legal opinion about issues surrounding the sporting world. Whether the matter be criminal or contractual, Keith's unique experience and education allows him to offer insight that may be missed by the casual fan. Keith is available for commentary on any legal issues that may arise in the Kentuckiana area and will routinely post articles concerning local and national sports law topics.

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