It will cost the athletic department more than $11 million to sever relationships with coaches that didn't do what they were supposed to do on or off of the field.
Shed no tears for Chizik. His pain is eased by a $7.5 million buyout paid in increments of $208,334 a month over the next five years. If he gets a job bagging groceries or coaching defense, his new salary will be subtracted from what Auburn is paying him not to come to work.
But the root of the evil here is neither Chizik nor the staff that signed these ridiculous contracts. The problem is an unproven athletic director and an athletic department that proposed them.
Jay Jacobs rushed to the bargaining table after Auburn went 14-0 and won the 2010 BCS national championship. The coach deserved a raise but Jacobs threw in the Toomer's Corner oaks and an autographed picture of Shug Jordan in a sweetheart deal that was surprising for someone whose record prior to that season was 13-24.
Jacobs was sending a message to people that laughed at him for hiring a coach with a losing record at Iowa State and giving him a $800,000 raise to succeed Tommy Tuberville.
So when the program self-destructed this season, Auburn found itself sinking along with it. The Tigers finished 3-9 and on Sunday, with echoes of "Roll Tide" still ringing in his ears, Jacobs announced Chizik had been fired.
Jacobs performed like a freshman drama student during the press conference. He winced. He grimaced. He looked into the camera and pretended he was a leader. But the worst was not over as columnists around the country have reminded him.
Check out Tracee Hamilton in the Washington Post. She says Chizik is the luckiest man in America.
"Forget trying to win the PowerBall -- rise to mediocrity in college coaching and you don't have to work another day in your life," she wrote. "In your wake you'll leave schools who will bitch and moan about their athletic budgets, using the cash hemorrhage they created as an excuse to spend more cash on yet another coach destined to be fired, yet cry poor when it's suggested they pay a modest stipend to the athletes who, after all, are the reason for college sports. Aren't they?"
Hamilton wags a finger at the university. "How do Auburn fundraisers ask their alumni for money without bursting into flames?"
The only way out of this is for Jay Jacobs to tell the NCAA what it wants to hear about Chizik's alleged recruiting violations.
And after he does that, quit.
-- Richard Hyatt is an independent correspondent. Reach him at email@example.com.