Hasn't Chuck Long already gotten enough money from the state of Michigan?
Whatever he was paid as the Detroit Lions' first-round draft pick in 1986 was more than his performance warranted. (I've spent the better part of an afternoon trying to find the contract terms without success. You failed us today, internet.) Long had a 4-17 record in the 21 games he started with the Lions before getting traded to the then-Los Angeles Rams as one of the biggest busts in NFL Draft history.
Long went into coaching after his playing days were over. And his lack of success as a head coach has allowed him to get yet more money from another institution in Michigan.
As explained by the San Diego Union Tribune, when Long was fired as the head coach of San Diego State in 2008, the school had to pay the remaining money on his contract, as well as compensate his assistants and fund a coaching transition. That amounted to $2.1 million. EDIT: At the time, the school announced it had raised $1 million of that payment through private donations. But SDSU was actually only able to raise $405,000 from donors.
Last week, it was revealed that the Aztecs were finally able to pay the rest of Long's buyout. Where did most of the money come from? From the University of Michigan.
As you might remember, Brady Hoke had a $1 million buyout in his head coaching contract with San Diego State. Michigan paid that out when it hired Hoke to take over for Rich Rodriguez in January. Upon receiving the payment, SDSU turned around and used that check (paid in April) to cover the rest of their obligation to Long.
That's not what the Aztecs' athletic department ideally had in mind for that money. Obviously, $1 million could cover a variety of costs for an athletic program. As Brent Schrotenboer points out in his report, that money probably could've prevented the elimination of 25 full-time jobs in the department since 2009.
Unfortunately, several donors who pledged money after Long was dismissed didn't come through with their money.
"At the time of the November 2008 press conference, we had a football transition plan that focused primarily on philanthropic monies, which is what President Weber discussed," [university spokesman Greg] Block said. "President Weber believed we had firm commitments from those pledges. However, some of those pledges did not materialize for a variety of reasons that we are not at liberty to discuss."
Besides Michigan's $1 million check, SDSU was able to pay out the remainder of Long's contract with revenue shared among the Mountain West Conference schools when Utah and TCU played in BCS bowls during the past two years.