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Report: Tom Allen Fired as Indiana Football HC; Receives $20M Contract Buyout

Report: Tom Allen Fired as Indiana Football HC; Receives $20M Contract Buyout
Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerTwitter LogoFeatured Columnist IVNovember 26, 2023

BLOOMINGTON, IN - NOVEMBER 18: Indiana Hoosiers head coach Tom Allen claps before the college football game between the Michigan State Spartans and the Indiana Hoosiers on November 18, 2023, at Memorial Stadium in Bloomington, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Indiana has fired head football coach Tom Allen, according to Zach Osterman of the Indianapolis Star.

This comes a day after a 35-31 loss to Purdue resigned the Hoosiers to a 3-9 record for the 2023 season.

According to Osterman, Allen will receive a $15.5 million buyout paid out in two installments. Osterman previously detailed how the coach would collect a $20.8 million buyout if he were fired without cause before Dec. 1, but Indiana negotiated it down.

“All salary except deferred compensation is paid out monthly, per the terms of the contract, and Allen’s buyout would fall on a prorated basis if he were fired in a month other than December,” he explained. “Deferred compensation is also prorated, so it would be rolled into any buyout figure at the termination of the contract.”

To put Allen’s initial buyout into perspective, Auburn was on the hook for $21.5 million when it fired Gus Malzahn in 2021. That was believed to be the highest-ever buyout before Jimbo Fisher collected $76 million to not coach Texas A&M anymore.

Indiana’s administration is appearing to send a clear message by moving on from Allen now.

Nicole Auerbach @NicoleAuerbach

Tom Allen’s buyout is over $20 million. Everyone in the industry had wondered if IU was willing to pay it for a football coach — answer is yes: https://t.co/EduX2XHTl8

Tom Fornelli @TomFornelli

Somewhat of a surprise, but if Indiana is willing to pay the buyout, that’s a good sign about the school’s investment in the program moving forward. https://t.co/eN4D9tsIX4

If it hadn’t been for the buyout, many probably would’ve considered Allen’s ouster a fait accompli.

He guided the Hoosiers to an 8-5 record in 2019 and a 6-2 mark in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. They were 11th in the final College Football playoff rankings that year.

However, the program quickly fell back to earth. Between 2021-23, Indiana had just three wins in the Big Ten, and the gulf between it and many of its Big Ten rivals has widened during the NIL era.

Matt Brown @MattBrownEP

The economics of big time college football are so messed up that Indiana…INDIANA…has the money to pay a dude 20 million not to coach, but “Indiana” probably doesn’t have the 3ish million needed to pay for a quality enough roster to win 7 games

One presumes the school will attempt to make a big splash with Allen’s replacement. The question is whether those kind of coaching candidates will seriously consider the school.

Football might be the bigger money-driver, but basketball is the sport that commands the most passion in Bloomington. While Mark Stoops has provided a blueprint for how to succeed at what’s perceived to be a basketball school, that hasn’t stopped him from clashing with Wildcats men’s basketball coach John Calipari at times.

History isn’t exactly on the Hoosiers’ side, either. They’ve never won 10 games in a season, and their last nine-win campaign was back in 1967.

Not to mention, navigating through the Big Ten will only get more difficult starting in 2024 with Oregon, UCLA, USC and Washington coming aboard.

Identifying a head coach who can win consistently — and one who wouldn’t jump at the first chance for a bigger job — will be a challenge for athletic director Scott Dolson.

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