FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Former Arkansas football coach Bret Bielema, now an assistant with the New York Giants, has filed a $7 million lawsuit against the Arkansas Razorback Foundation.
The lawsuit, filed Friday, says the foundation that supports Arkansas athletics breached a contractual obligation to pay him about $12 million — the amount of the buyout agreement Bielema signed in January 2018 after he was fired.
Marshall Ney, the attorney for the Razorback Foundation, believes Bielema is the one who owes. The foundation sent Bielema a letter on Jan. 31, 2019, demanding that he return money it had already paid him in monthly buyout payments.
“What I can share at this point before digesting the entire document is that the Foundation previously demanded that Bret Bielema return the $4,555,833.29 that had been paid to him prior to the Foundation’s discovery of his multiple material breaches of the agreement,” Ney wrote in an e-mail. “It appears that Bielema filed suit in order to avoid being sued.”
The 64-page lawsuit says the Razorback Foundation’s unwillingness to pay Bielema stems from its conclusion that he hasn’t tried hard enough to find another job to offset money the school owed.
Bielema went 68-24 in seven seasons at Wisconsin before heading to Arkansas. He finished with a 29-34 mark with the Razorbacks and was fired in November 2017.
In July 2018, the New England Patriots hired Bielema as a consultant to head coach Bill Belichick. He became the Patriots defensive line coach in the 2019 season. In January, the New York Giants and new head coach, Joe Judge, hired Bielema as outside linebackers’ coach and senior assistant.