NewsNational NewsScripps News


Indiana football coach let go after agreeing to $15.5 million buyout

A long-term contract signed in 2021 made firing Tom Allen difficult, but the university described it as a "necessary" move.
Indiana football coach let go after agreeing to $15.5 million buyout
Posted at 1:01 PM, Nov 27, 2023

Indiana University head football coach Tom Allen won't be returning to the Hoosiers next season after agreeing to a $15.5 million buyout — the largest ever paid by a Big Ten school.

Allen still had four years left on a seven year contract he signed with the university in 2021 and was owed more than $20 million. But the two sides reached a settlement that will give him two payments of $7.75 million to not coach for the school. 

All of the money will come from donor funds and is the largest buyout in conference history, surpassing the $15 million Nebraska paid former head football coach Scott Frost last year.

SEE MORE: Michigan settles litigation with Big Ten, Harbaugh accepts suspension

"It has been my greatest professional honor to serve as Indiana’s head football coach for the past seven years,” Allen said in a statement released by his agent and obtained by the Associated Press. “Representing this university and this state has meant more to me than you can imagine. Our entire journey here has been based on a simple concept – Love. Each. Other. It’s what we’ve done, it’s what we’ll always do. I continue to believe it’s a recipe to change the world.” 

Allen took over head coaching duties for the Hoosiers in December of 2016 after former boss Kevin Wilson resigned amid an internal investigation into player mistreatment. Allen went on to lead the team to a 24-21 record over the next four seasons that included back-to-back bowl game appearances in 2019 and 2020. 

He was also awarded coach of the year honors from the Big Ten and the American Football Coaches Association following a pandemic-shortened 2020 season when the Hoosiers celebrated their highest national ranking, No. 12, since finishing fourth in 1967.

SEE MORE: Undefeated James Madison told it can't play in a bowl game

However, things took a harsh turn for the Indiana football program in 2021, with Allen posting a 9-27 record over the next three losing seasons. The long-term contract signed back in 2021 made firing Allen difficult, but the university described it as a "necessary" move. 

"After continued evaluation of our entire football program, I have determined that we have lost momentum and that a change in leadership is necessary at this time," athletic director Scott Dolson said in a statement. "I want to thank Tom for all of the contributions he has made to IU in his seven years leading our program. His passion, character, and class made a positive impact on our student-athletes. We wish him well in his future endeavors."

While Allen's $15.5 million buyout may seem like a lot to not have him coach at Indiana, it's actually only a fraction of what another university recently paid to split ways with its head football coach. Texas A&M fired coach Jimbo Fisher earlier this month, a move that will cost the school more than $75 million — more than triple the next highest coaching buyout in NCAA history.

Trending stories at