Losing Kirk Ciarrocca to a conference opponent is likely bad enough for Minnesota, but it looks like the Gophers also just missed out on a big buyout number as well.

It became official Thursday morning that Ciarrocca was leaving Minneapolis to join James Franklin’s Penn State staff in Happy Valley. It was an opportunity for the OC to return to his home state, something that P.J. Fleck knew was a dream for Ciarrocca.

RELATED: P.J. Fleck discusses departure of Kirk Ciarrocca: ‘He’s given me a lot of time in the Midwest’

Unfortunately, his departure comes as Minnesota is preparing to wrap up its season with an Outback Bowl appearance against Auburn. The Gophers are looking for win No. 11 and are already facing a tough defense. They’ll now move on to face that task without their OC.

It’s never easy losing a key piece of your coaching staff, and it hurts even more when that assistant jumps to a school in the same conference. It also looks like Ciarrocca’s buyout number was still a very small one at the time of his departure.

RELATED: Tanner Morgan contacted Sean Clifford following Kirk Ciarrocca’s hiring at Penn State

According to Megan Ryan with the Star Tribune, Ciarrocca was in line for a big raise as a part of Fleck’s new contract. Fleck was awarded an extension during the season, and based on those details, Ciarrocca was set to make $1 million each of the next two seasons. His buyout number would also be increased to $250,000.

Unfortunately for the Gophers, Ciarrocca was not yet on that new contract. As a result, his buyout was less than $100,000:

When the Board of Regents approved Fleck’s deal, it approved the framework of the new two-year contract for Ciarrocca. That new contract would have included a $250,000 buyout for Ciarrocca to pay upon leaving, but because he was still working under the previous contract, his buyout payment to the university is just $50,000.

That will definitely sting for a little bit.