People are throwing these figures around thinking schools and boosters will pony up. It ain't happening. No school is going to release control of decisions like that. It is way too dangerous.
This is actually a reasonable response. But my counter point is that football is THE money maker for Tennessee, and for most schools in the SEC. With Tennessee's money concerns they need a splash hire that will unite fans again and bring them to the stadium next year. They need to hire someone who will get merchandise sold. If it takes a loosening of the reigns to get this type of hire, they will let go.
Bama splurged on the Saban hire, but their revenue increased 10 fold. That's what UT has to do.