Nutt To Collect About $3 Million

FAYETTEVILLE — University of Arkansas Chancellor John White sensed Houston Nutt's apprehension.

He could detect Saturday, when he and the former Razorback football coach met, that Nutt was tense about the financial situation he faced. Nutt wanted to resign. But White, like Nutt, realized the "golden handcuffs" in the coach's contract restricted his options.

If Nutt resigned, the contract stated, he received nothing — and if he accepted another coaching position, he owed the university $500,000.

White didn't think that was fair, considering Nutt made this decision for family reasons. So White requested that the Razorback Foundation "undo the handcuffs and provide him with the same level of compensation he would receive if we terminated his employment." The foundation approved White's request at a meeting Monday.

That means Nutt will collect about $3 million in deferred compensation that already has been placed into escrow accounts and will have the $500,000 clause nullified.

"I told him that I had reviewed his contract and understood how difficult it would be for him to resign if he concluded it was in the best interest of his family and the Razorback family for him to do so," White said. "I felt like it was the only thing to do.

"I felt like it was not fair to Houston to keep those handcuffs on him. They were very onerous handcuffs."

Nutt could receive even more, up to $1.65 million, if he takes time away from coaching or accepts another job that pays less than his base salary of $329,644 per year. Nutt was under contract through 2012, but payments of his base salary would be mitigated by becoming a coach at another institution.

Arkansas' assistant coaches have individual employment agreements with the foundation and will have their contracts guaranteed. Every assistant except wide receivers coach Alex Wood has an agreement through Dec. 31, 2008 — Wood's ends Dec. 31, 2007.

Nutt bluntly stated his resignation was possible only because of White's generosity.

"That's why I'm so appreciative," Nutt said. "First of all, (for) Coach Broyles setting these annuities aside. I'm very thankful for that. I'm very thankful for Chancellor White, the way he gave me an unbelievable option.

"I couldn't have (resigned) without him."

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