Just because Ellis Johnson has landed on his feet with an $800,000 per-year contract at Auburn University doesn’t mean that Southern Miss is off the hook for any of his $2.1 million buyout.

… [At a faculty meeting, Aubrey] Lucas affirmed that contracts are being examined more carefully, though he did not elaborate in what ways. He also stated that he intends to put a better payout clause in the contract of the next head football coach.

Thanks to a report on a national sports website called Deadspin, it has become commonplace to assume that Johnson’s buyout will be paid with the $2.125 million that Southern Miss will receive for its football game in 2013 with the University of Nebraska.

In fact, Lucas said school officials aren’t planning to pay any of it with the game revenue, stating that other pressing issues will require the money, such as the ongoing athletic department debt and the loss of revenue from the steep decline in ticket sales throughout the year.

As for the buyout, it’s actually greater than $2.1 million when you take into account the assistant coaches that will need to be bought out once a new coach brings in his staff.

Lucas said that school is on the hook for $1.1 million for this fiscal year (ending July 1, 2013) for the contracts of Johnson and his assistant coaches…

Then the school will have to foot an additional $1.95 million for the next three fiscal years for Johnson and the assistants that remain under contract.

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