Lovie Smith's contract includes buyout if he leaves Illinois early

- If football coach Lovie Smith leaves the University of Illinois before his $21 million contract ends, he'll owe the university between $4.5 million and $6.5 million.

The (Champaign) News-Gazette obtained a copy of the full 41-page deal Thursday through a records request. Smith and university officials signed the six-year deal the same day.

It says if Smith accepts a "competing position," he'd owe the money as compensation for the school's "lost goodwill and competitive advantage." It'll cost him $6.5 million if he leaves before Jan. 31, 2017. Then it decrease $500,000 each year of the contract. 

If he's terminated "without cause" before the contract's end, he'll be owed between $2 million and $19 million, along with prorated salary.

Smith is a longtime NFL coach hired to replace Bill Cubit.

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