Kiffin, also a former coach of the NFL Oakland Raiders and a former USC assistant, became the Volunteers' football coach in October 2008. His quick departure led to an on-campus protest by about 1,000 Tennessee students Tuesday night.
The newspaper published the terms of his contract this week and it said Kiffin would owe the buyout if he left after one year.
His 7-6 record included two SEC reprimands -- one for comments alleging Florida violated recruiting rules and another for public comments he made about game officials in a loss to eventual-BCS champion Alabama.
The newspaper also said local police were called in to protect Kiffin and his family during the unrest.
"We thought it would be best if we just took him home in one of our cruisers," Police Capt. Keith Lambert told the newspaper Wednesday.