FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Bill Belichick, the New England Patriots head coach, has been subpoenaed in a lawsuit between former Patriots defensive consultant Bret Bielema and The Razorback Foundation.
The Razorback Foundation and Bret Bielema have been battling in court over the last half-year. The lawsuit centers around the terms of Bret Bielema's firing as the head football coach at the University of Arkansas and his compensation.
Bielema was the head coach for the University of Arkansas football team from 2012 to 2017. By the end of his coaching stint at the university, Bielema was the highest-paid state employee in Arkansas, with a salary reported at $4,200,000.
Bielema was fired as head coach at Arkansas and had a $12 million buyout as part of his contract. The contract stated that he was required to seek high-paying employment that would reduce the amount of backpay the University of Arkansas owed him.
Bill Belichick hired Bielema as a defensive consultant for the Patriots in 2018. Bielema's compensation under the Patriots was $125,000, which was not high enough to reduce Arkansas's buyout payments, The Athletic reports.
The Razorback Foundation, an organization that helps fund the University of Arkansas's athletic programs, claims in its lawsuit against Beleima that he, Belichick, and their agent (Neil Cornrich) intentionally didn't pay Beliema a high enough pay that would lower the University of Arkansas' buyout payment.
The court documents for the cases state:
“The Foundation expressly pleaded that helping the Patriots hire Bielema for a low salary benefitted both of Cornrich’s clients and therefore benefitted Cornrich,” the organization wrote in court papers Tuesday. “Bielema benefited … and the Patriots (and by extension Belichick) benefited by hiring a coach with years of college head coaching experience and three Rose Bowls for next to no pay.”
The Razorback Foundation has admitted that Belichick could have been oblivious to the deal his agent, Neil Cornrich, made with Bielema to join the Patriots' staff.