Clemson is covered -- win or lose

This company is turning football helmet design on its head
This company is turning football helmet design on its head

Clemson learned a big lesson after its loss to Alabama in last year's championship football game -- get insurance.

Now Clemson will be protected on and off the field when it plays in the title game on Monday night.

The team's insurance policy costs about $272,000, but Clemson will get money -- win or lose. A loss will have a payout of about $500,000. A win will mean about $1 million.

The payout money will cover travel expenses, the cost of game tickets, and will also fund coach and staff bonuses.

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Clemson first pursued contractual bonus insurance last summer after making it to the 2016 championship and not being prepared for all the immediate expenses.

"We paid out roughly $2.3 million last year and it would've been more had we won," said Eric George, Clemson's assistant athletic director. "Knowing the predictions for this year, we wanted to mitigate that."

Under the insurance policy, Clemson's expenses will be capped at $1.95 million this year.

Clemson's policy covers the team when it makes it to the semifinals and finals.

George said Clemson plans to reassess the policy each year depending on how well the team is expected to do.

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Michael Wright of Risk Point Consulting said this type of insurance has been on the market for about 20 or 30 years.

His firm has helped broker insurance deals for Clemson and four other college football programs. The coverage is best suited for teams that expect to do better than they have in the past and where bonuses are paid out based on performance.

Wright said the insurance protects a program's budget and makes sense because a win means more money needs to be paid out.

"The last thing [a program] wants is to be essentially rooting against success because they'll lose money if they win," Wright said.

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Clemson may be covered, but what about Alabama?

"We've looked at it, but it hasn't made sense to us," said Alabama Athletic Director Bill Battle. "Maybe we don't know enough about it, but we've been going to bowls and doing pretty well the last couple of years."

Battle added that Alabama budgets for postseason expenses like bowl and championship games.

"We feel like self-insuring is a better bet."

This year's championship is a rematch of last year's -- Alabama beat Clemson 45-40.

Game on.

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