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Bret Bielema files $7M lawsuit against Razorback Foundation

The former Arkansas head coach is seeking unpaid buyout wages after he was fired following the 2017 season.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Bret Bielema has filed a $7 million lawsuit against the Arkansas Razorback Foundation.

First reported by Variety, and their sister outlet, Sportico, in a civil suit, the former Arkansas head football coach alleges that the foundation breached its contract when it stopped paying him the remainder of the $12 million buyout that both sides agreed to after Bielema was fired following the 2017 season.

THV11 has obtained a copy of the lawsuit. It claims the foundation stopped paying Bielema in January of 2019, after paying just $4.3 million of the agreed-upon buyout, leaving $7.7 million left unpaid.

The specific language of Bielema's contract, as provided by Variety, is as follows:

"11. If Bielema is terminated by the University of Arkansas for its convenience and the Foundation is obligated to pay the amounts specified. . . Bielema agrees that those payments shall be subject to the following mitigation provisions. Bielema shall be required to do the following: Bielema shall have the duty to mitigate his damages by making reasonable efforts to gain re-employment. The parties understand and agree that if Bielema is successful in gaining such re-employment, or alternative employment of any kind the Foundation's Guaranty Payment obligations shall be reduced by the amount of compensation the Coach earns from such employment (so long as such employment coincides with the Guaranty Payments). The Foundation's right to reduce its obligations shall not include amounts Coach may earn from passive investments or interest not associated with new employment"

Bielema coached the Razorbacks from 2013-2017, finishing 4-8 overall in his final season and just 1-7 in SEC play.

He was hired by the New England Patriots in 2018 as a "consultant to the head coach." According to the lawsuit, Bielema's "tenure with the Patriots involved three consecutive contracts that progressively increased his responsibilities and compensation -- the last of which involved a promotion to Defensive Line Coach".

Bielema joined the New York Giants organization in January of 2020 as their outside linebackers coach and senior assistant.

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