Arkansas Razorback Foundation settles lawsuit with Bret Bielema
The legal battle between Arkansas and former Razorback Bret Bielema has come to an end.
Per Matt Jones of the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, the Razorback Foundation is set to pay Bielema $3,529,167 upon settling the former coach’s lawsuit. By settling, the Foundation will not have to pay $3.85 million in buyout fees.
“We believe the resolution of this matter is in the best interest of the Razorback Foundation and our membership,” Razorback Foundation executive director Scott Varady said in a statement, per NWA Online. “We wish Coach Bielema and his family the best moving forward.”
The Foundation stopped paying Bielema in January 2019, citing breach of contract. The Foundation accused Bielema and the New England Patriots of scheming to keep his salary below the offset threshold. Bielema made $125,000 in 2018 as a consultant. The offset threshold was set at $150,000. Anything Bielema would have made in excess of $150,000 in 2018 would have been deducted from his buyout.
“I am pleased to announce the resolution of our differences with the Razorback Foundation,” Bielema said in his statement, per NWA Online. “We wish everyone in Razorback Athletics nothing but the best in the years to come.”
In the two seasons that followed, Bielema was promoted to an on-field position with the Patriots paying $250,000 and then left New England to take a job with the New York Giants, which paid $400,000.
Bielema was hired as the head coach at Illinois on Dec. 19, 2020.