CHAMPAIGN - The search is on for new Illini coaches. Rumors are swirling about who will become the new basketball coach for the University of Illinois. The old coaches though are still getting paid.
The University of Illinois is in a shopping spree right now. However, it still owes its old coaches a lot of money. But how do fans feel about still paying fired coaches?
On a night of March Madness at a local restaurant, residents are learning about coaches.
"Where's my money at?” Illini fan Morgan Dowell said. “He's still being paid all that?”
Former Illini Coach Bruce Weber is still owed $3.9 million.
"To get rid of a coach that you still owe money to is financially retarded," Illini fan Brady Kipper said.
The athletic department doesn't just owe Weber either. Total, it owes three fired coaches $7.1 million.
"I mean if I got fired, I wouldn't be getting paid," Dowell said.
The coaches were paid on a salary basis, and because the university broke its contract, it owes the coaches some money.
"If the University of Illinois is paying him $1.3 million a year,” Illini fan Mike Resler said. “And he's not coaching at the University of Illinois, to me that's a waste."
The situation brings up an age old question. State Senator Mike Jacobs knows the issue. Is there too much emphasis that's put on sports?
"When I see someone making $4 million a year, and then we have to pay someone $2 million dollars not to play, or not to participate, it seems a little outlandish to me," Jacobs said.
The athletic department will be paying off the fired coaches. But it's still the fans that help make the department money.
"We're still watching the games, going to the games,” Kipper said. “So it's still taking money out of our pockets and just throwing it away."
So now Illinois continues its search for a coach while fans hope to watch Illini games in March next season. The Illini are still looking for both a men's and women's basketball coach.