Arkansas, Bret Bielema reportedly reach settlement in lawsuit
The legal battle between Arkansas and new Illinois head coach Bret Bielema has reportedly reached a settlement. Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk reported the news on Friday.
Bielema was fired by Arkansas following the 2017 college football season. After a 48-45 loss to Missouri to finish a 4-8 year, the head coach told reporters that he was fired while coming off the field.
In 2018, Bielema took a job on the New England Patriots staff, prompting the lawsuit. From Pro Football Talk:
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“After Arkansas fired Bielema, he spent two years working for the Patriots. His salary in New England was $125,000, and Arkansas accused Bielema and his agent of scheming to take an artificially low salary so that Arkansas would have to pay him more. Bielema’s Arkansas contract said the school still owed him $11.935 million when he was fired, but it also said that Arkansas could deduct his salary from his future coaching jobs.
“The Patriots wanted to keep emails involving Bielema private, and they won a temporary order toward that end, but the judge in the case said that the Patriots’ emails could come out at trial.”
Arkansas will pay Bielema an additional $3.5 million and he will waive the additional $3.9 million he was owed under the terms of his contract.
In five seasons as the head coach at Arkansas, Bielema was 29-34 and led the Razorbacks to three bowl appearances. Before that, Bielema was the head coach at Wisconsin where he compiled a 68-24 record from 2006-12, appearing in a bowl game every year and winning three B1G titles.
Bielema was hired in December to take over at Illinois after the school terminated Lovie Smith.