By ROBBIE NEISWANGER
Arkansas News Bureau
FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino signed a letter of agreement with the program last December, emphasizing his commitment to building the Razorbacks into a national power.
Five months later, a look at his finalized contract continued to illustrate the point.
Petrino’s completed 45-page employment agreement, which was obtained through a Freedom of Information request, offered the specifics of his seven-year contract with the Razorbacks. It’s a deal that will pay Petrino — who led Arkansas to its first Bowl Championship Series game last season — an average of $3.56 million annually over through Dec. 31, 2017.
The letter of agreement was signed and dated by Petrino last December. It indicated Arkansas would "use its best efforts to draft and execute" the formal employment agreement within 30 days, not including any dates the university is closed for winter break. The finalized employment agreement was signed March 9 by Petrino and released more than two months later.
The most notable aspect of the employment agreement remained the mirror buyout that appears to bind Arkansas and Petrino throughout the deal. The buyout amount for the first two years of the deal is $18 million and remains above $10 million through five years. It drops to $7.375 million in the sixth year and $3.925 million in the final year of the agreement.
Other details include:
• An expanded non-compete clause that does not permit Petrino to leave Arkansas for another Southeastern Conference program. The non-compete clause in Petrino’s previous Arkansas deal consisted of just the SEC Western Division.
• Athletic achievement incentives that would reward Petrino for various accomplishments. He would earn an additional $300,000 if the Razorbacks won the national championship. He’ll make $100,000 for winning the SEC Championship Game. Petrino could earn as much as $550,000 in athletic achievement incentives a season.
• Petrino was paid $500,000 for simply signing the employment agreement, bumping his 2011 salary to $3.6 million. The payment is part of Longevity Incentives in the contract. Petrino will be paid an additional $250,000 on Dec. 31, 2014. He will receive $475,000 on Dec. 31, 2017.
Petrino and athletic director Jeff Long were not available for comment Thursday. But Long said in December the agreement demonstrated a "mutual long-term commitment" between the two.
"Coach Petrino has stabilized and elevated the success of our program," Long said. "The mirror image buyout provisions included in the terms of the agreement reflect both parties’ serious commitment to each other and to the long-term success of Razorback Football. That will help our ongoing fundraising efforts and send a clear message to prospective football student-athletes about the bright future of our program."
Swanson Named To Watch List
Arkansas sophomore Travis Swanson was among 42 centers named to the 2011 Rimington Trophy watch list on Thursday.
Swanson, who is one of five sophomores on the list, with enter 2011 in consideration for the award after starting 13 games as a redshirt freshman. The Kingwood, Texas, native was named to the SEC’s All-Freshman team last winter.
The Rimington Trophy honors the nation’s top center. Former Arkansas center Jonathan Luigs won the Rimington Trophy in 2007.