The real reason Bill O’Brien is staying at Penn State

Earlier today, Doug lauded Bill O'Brien's stated dedication to all that is good and right about college athletics, apple pie, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, but me, being me, I'm going to have to take a moment to suggest that it had a wee bit to do with his $18.4 million buyout with Penn State.

You see, even if some crazy owner wanted to pay that buyout on O'Brien's behalf (which would be absolutely insane), the story wouldn't be over.  Since they'd be paying O'Brien's debt to Penn State, that would be ordinary income for him, and he'd have tax liability for it, even though it passed through his bank account instantaneously (if at all).

If somebody pays you $18.4 million, and you never see a dollar of that in cash, it gets to be hard to come up with the $7.3 million (39.6%) you'll owe Uncle Sam.  Of course, last week/year, the bill only would have been $6.4 million (35%).  So fans who really wanted O'Brien can blame Barack Obama if they want.  In any case, there's no way O'Brien could even pay the tax on the buyout, even if a team was willing to drop all that cash, which is extremely unlikely.

As an interesting side note, I heard Gil Brandt tell a cool story on Sirius last night.  Gil is kind of a football OG for the modern era, and he's been involved in many innovations in the game over the last 50 years.  In the 1970s, he was retained as a consultant by Washington State University to help them hire football coaches.  In 1976, he recommended Jackie Sherrill, who was hired.  Sherrill went 3-8. and left after one year for Pittsburgh, where he won a split national title in 1980. 

In Pullman, it was back to the drawing board after one year, and Brandt recommended Warren Powers, who was hired for the 1977 season.  Powers went 6-5, and parlayed that huge success (and it is all of that at Wazzu) into the head job at Missouri.  At that point, the administration was getting frustrated.  

Between Brandt and the president of the unviersity, they came up with the idea of putting a buyout in the next guy's contract.  Jim Walden would be forced to pay $75,000 to break his contract and leave, and he ended up staying nine years in Pullman.  Brandt said he thought that was the first use of a buyout in college football history.

In only 34 years, we've gone from $75,000 for Jim Walden to $18.4 million for Bill O'Brien.  You can add Brandt in with Obama, if you think B.O.B. is a savior and you're looking for somebody to blame.

1.  I’m not in the arguing business, I’m in the saying what I think business.
2.  I get my information from my eyes.

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