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#pounditSunday, April 21, 2024

Report: South Florida trying to get out of paying Charlie Strong buyout

South Florida owes Charlie Strong a hefty sum of money after firing the coach last season, but the school may be trying to find a way to get out of paying the bill.

Strong, who signed a five-year deal with USF in 2016, was fired after the Bulls went 4-8. His buyout agreement calls for the school to pay him $2.98 million. According to a report from Zach Barnett of FootballScoop.com, USF is investigating some potential violations from Strong that took place while he was still coaching the team, and some believe the probe is an attempt by the school to get out of paying the buyout.

South Florida has been interviewing former assistant coaches to see if Strong may have knowingly allowed any analysts or quality control personnel to take part in hands-on coaching, which would be a violation of NCAA rules. Only the head coach, his 10 assistants and four graduate assistants are permitted to engage in on-field instruction with players.

Sources told Barnett that the investigation is particularly unusual because South Florida athletic director Michael Kelly and USF compliance staffers made regular appearances at Strong’s practices, so they should have seen if something was amiss. South Florida also did not claim “cause” when firing Strong back in December. If the school could determine that Strong should have been fired “for cause,” the nearly $3 million buyout agreement may become void.

The Bulls went 10-2 in Strong’s first year, but that was one season after the team went 10-2 after being built up by Willie Taggart. As things got further away from the Taggart era, the program continued to get worse. South Florida went 7-6 in 2018 and 4-8 last season. They had lost 14 of their last 18 games, and Strong made some puzzling coaching decisions during the end of his tenure with the program.

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