Ohio State University must pay its former basketball coach, Chris Holtmann, nearly $15 million over the next four years, but his new job at DePaul University will reduce this amount to under $8.5 million. This expensive buyout is a reminder of the poor decision made by former athletic director Gene Smith to extend Holtmann’s contract in 2022.

The release agreement between Ohio State and Holtmann, signed in March and obtained by Eleven Warriors, outlined the financial obligations. Ohio State was initially required to pay Holtmann $14,990,706.25 over four years. This payment was broken down into monthly installments: $4,490,706.47 from February 15, 2024, to June 30, 2025; $2,187,499.96 from July 1, 2025, to February 14, 2026; and $8,312,499.82 from February 15, 2026, to June 30, 2028.

However, Holtmann’s new position as head coach at DePaul affects these payments. Although DePaul, a private university, does not disclose salaries publicly, an Ohio State spokesperson informed Eleven Warriors that Holtmann will earn $125,000 per month, totaling $1.5 million annually.

As a result, Ohio State’s payment obligation to Holtmann is reduced to $8,428,206.25. This amount could decrease if Holtmann receives a raise before June 2028, but it might increase if he becomes unemployed within the next four years.

The need for these buyout payments stems from a three-year contract extension that former Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith granted Holtmann in 2022. The extension was one of Smith’s poor decision as AD at Ohio State and was an onbvious blemish on Smith tenure at Ohio State. Thankfully the extension stipulated that if Ohio State terminated him before the contract’s end, they would pay his remaining salary minus any new earnings. Ohio State fired Holtmann in February after a poor performance, with the team losing nine out of eleven games.

Ohio State’s new head coach, Jake Diebler, has a different contract structure. If Ohio State ends his contract early, they only need to pay 65% of his remaining salary. Diebler’s contract is worth $2.5 million per year, less than Holtmann’s $3.5 million annual salary.