What's the buyout? Source calls Weis' figure 'stupefying'

Updated: November 26, 2008, 7:56 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

CHICAGO -- Is Charlie Weis' job as the head football coach at Notre Dame safe because of the size of his contract buyout?

A person with knowledge of Weis' contract told ESPN's Joe Schad on Wednesday that the amount Notre Dame would have to pay Weis is greater than $4 million to $5 million, which was reported earlier Wednesday by the Chicago Tribune. The source told Schad that the buyout, which is specified in the contract, is "stupefying."

The Tribune, citing multiple sources, reported that the size of Weis' buyout -- previously said to be as much as $10 million -- is inaccurate and put the figure at closer to $4 million. The paper also said that the amount isn't enough to affect whether Notre Dame decides to part ways with Weis.

Notre Dame (6-5), coming off an embarrassing home loss to lightly-regarded Syracuse, plays at No. 5 USC on Saturday night (8 p.m. ET, ESPN). Notre Dame is a 32-point underdog; no Irish team has been more than a 24-point underdog since 1975.

The Tribune reported that typical buyouts for college football coaches are base salary times years remaining on a contract. Weis' base salary (not including outside income) for the 2007 season was $598,000, according to a report in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, which attributed the figure to Notre Dame's tax forms.

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If Weis' base salary was up to $650,000, the paper reported, that would put his buyout at less than $5 million (Weis has seven years left on his deal). The paper, citing an unnamed prominent alumnus, called a buyout figure "loose change."

Weis' contract has been reported to be worth a total of $3-4 million per year -- including income from shoe deals, radio and television deals, etc.

Former Notre Dame wide receiver Jeff Samardzija, now a pitcher with the Chicago Cubs, told ESPN's "First Take" on Wednesday that he continues to support Weis.

"I think [fans and alumni] need to take a deep breath," he said. "Everything will be fine. It hasn't been the season they planned for, but it happens."

Asked whether he thinks Weis should remain as the head coach, Samardzija said: "Absolutely, he's a great coach. He's got a track record for it. If there's somebody out there with a better record, who's a better fit, I'd like to hear who it is."

Earlier this month, Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick said he would not evaluate Weis until after the season, and that anyone who suggests a coaching change could occur should know that it is "not under consideration at this time."

Information from ESPN's Joe Schad is included in this report

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