Coaches’ Contracts: Rich Brooks

April 17, 2008

The parade of SEC coach contract analysis continues on with Rich Brooks‘s contract with Kentucky.

The tidy, 19-page contract between the University of Kentucky and Richard L. Brooks is interesting, but not because it has a lot of unintentionally funny legalese throughout it. It also goes beyond the fact that page 14 of it somehow got moved from between pages 13 and 15 to the end, after the signature page.

First of all, it indicates that Kentucky is serious about fielding a competitive football team within the SEC and will reward the coach handsomely for doing so. He gets a performance bonus of $50,000 each for his fifth and sixth SEC wins of a season, and $75,000 each for his seventh and eighth SEC wins in a season. He also gets $100,000 for winning the division. So, winning all 8 SEC games would give him $350,000 right there, more ten times as much as Mark Richt would get for winning all 8 SEC games and activating his SEC East championship bonus. If he wins the SEC championship game, that’s another $200,000. His non-BCS bowl bonuses are tied to the payout of the game.

Beyond the on-field bonuses he gets, Brooks also gets some for off-field achievements. If gross ticket revenue increases from the previous year, he gets 10% of that increase. So, if UK ups their ticket prices, you can bet he’s behind that all the way. In terms of academics, his bonuses are tied to a cumulative team GPA above 2.75, and curiously a minimum .925 Academic Progress Rate. If you’re not familiar with that, it’s an NCAA stat based on graduation rates, and if your team goes below .925 it loses scholarships. The academic bar is clearly not set that high.

Rich Brooks applauds his team for not flunking out of school in droves, thereby earning him up to an extra $55,000. Any picture of Rich Brooks in UK gear must really unnerve Oregon fans.

One of the key arguments in the Rich Rodriguez contract dispute with WVU is an allegation by Rodriguez that the school promised him they’d upgrade the facilities, but the school has yet to do that. He should have borrowed Rich Brooks’s agent then, because Brooks had university-provided “improvements to the Football Program” written right into his contract. The lesson, as always, is that if you want something done you need to have it in writing.

There really isn’t much else to note, other than the use of fake-sounding words like “effectuate,” because this is a remarkably clear and concise contract. If you’re wondering about any mentions of the basketball program, because this is Kentucky we’re talking about and I know you are, he gets four tickets to every home game. That’s the only mention of basketball in the whole thing.

Selected Quotes:

“Coach’s duties, responsibilities and obligations shall be those normally associated with the position of head football coach at a Division I university such as the University of Kentucky.”

Because we wouldn’t want to require anything extraordinary out of Rich Brooks. Then again, competing in the SEC at Kentucky probably falls in the “extraordinary” bucket.

“The University agrees to undertake and provide additional improvements to the Football Program in an effort to increase the overall success of the Football Program.”

Yeah, it’s somewhat vague. Still, had Rich Rodriguez got this put in his contract, well, he’d actually have leg to stand on in his current dispute with WVU concerning unfulfilled promises regarding facilities upgrades.

“It is not the intention of the parties that this Agreement be terminable for minor, technical or otherwise insignificant University regulations or for NCAA or SEC violations which do not entail the risk of major institutional penalties.”

No coach ever gets fired for a technicality unless the school really, really wants him gone, but I have yet to see another coach have a protection against that written in his contract.

When Rich Brooks speaks, the media fires up the bleep machine.


Coaches’ Contracts: Mark Richt

April 16, 2008

The series of SEC coaching contract analysis passes the midway point with Mark Richt’s deal with Georgia.

Image from georgiadogs.com

At first glance, it looks as though Mark Richt’s contract is between him and the University of Georgia Athletic Association and therefore he’s not officially a state employee, just like Urban Meyer is not a state employee of Florida. However, it clearly states a little later that he’s an employee of the University System of Georgia. Any other speculation regarding his employment is moot, since he has an excellent record as a head coach and has no incentive to leave.

The contract leads off with his duties and powers, the only contract to mention “powers” of any kind. It would be awesome if his contract gave him powers like flying or the ability to transmute into a liquid, but instead it gives him empty, so-called powers like the ability to recommend assistant coach candidates (that the AD can unilaterally veto) and to agree with the scheduling choices the AD already made. Most other coaches get full power for hiring and firing assistants, as well as significant influence in setting the slate of games.

His goal as coach as spelled out here is at first seems noble, but the ulterior motive is found a couple paragraphs down. It first says he must keep the team competitive and supported by the “University Community,” a fine endeavor to create a unifying force in the state of Georgia, right? Except that, it specifically states later that one of his duties is to increase student and fan interest not for the good of the community, but to make enormous amounts of money.

The progression from child to booster really flies by, doesn’t it? Gotta indoctrinate them early! Image CC by Flickr user Natalie Blackburn.

In the way of bonuses, Richt’s deal is pretty straightforward. He gets either $25,000 or $75,000 for winning the SEC East or the overall conference title, and he gets the same amounts in addition for going to a bowl or a BCS bowl, respectively. A top-5 AP poll finish nets $50,000, but a national championship named by the BCS and/or the AP gets him $150,000. He gets $50,000 for his team finishing in the top third in the conference in academics; that’s a bit unique since most other academic bonuses are tied to absolute terms, not relative terms. He does have the sweetest longevity bonus I’ve seen – a cool $2.4 million if he stays through the 2013 season.

Overall, the contract has more of a money-focused feel to it than most of the other ones do, though it’s hard to pick exactly what it is that gives it that feel. Maybe it’s that Richt or the athletic associate twice a year can recommend ways to restructure his pay to reduce his or the university’s tax liability for it. Or maybe it’s that if he leaves for another job, he can pay his $2 million buyout in quarterly installments between his leaving and the end of his contract in 2013. Regardless, it’s a surprisingly restrictive deal for a guy with such a great track record.

Selected Quotes:

“WHEREAS, football is a high emphasis sport at the University;”

Huh. You don’t say. You mean making Mark Richt the highest paid state employee wasn’t enough to demonstrate that?

Someone fire up the “O” signal!

“Richt’s duties and powers include… [t]aking any and all reasonable actions to increase student and fan interest in and support of the Team in order for the Team to generate substantial net revenue for the [UGA Athletic] Association and the University.”

This part of his deal immediately discredits the idea that the UGA football program exists solely for righteous pursuits like giving kids a good education and a great start to adult life. Or that getting students and fans involved is intended to “give back” for their support for that matter. It’s all about keeping them engaged to keep getting their money, and according to this section, poor revenues could be a breach of contract on the head coach’s part. Of course, every other I-A football program exists for the same reason, but few if any others are so brazen in talking about it.

“Richt’s duties and powers include… [w]orking in good faith with the Athletic Director to schedule future opponents identified and approved by the Athletic Director.”

In other words the AD picks out Georgia’s schedule, and it’s up to Richt to schedule the games. He must support all of the AD’s scheduling pursuits and can only object with “reasonable” complaints. Contrast that with Nick Saban or Houston Nutt who were required to recommend their scheduled opponents. Nutt even had to include “dates, places and times” rather than just submit a list of every non-BCS school in the Gulf Coast region as his recommendations.


Paterno and Bowden

April 16, 2008

Two recent articles from ESPN.com couldn’t make the distinction between Bobby Bowden and Joe Paterno more clear. The Bowden article is by Heather Dinich; the Paterno article is by Ivan Maisel.

Their Involvement

It’s more accurate to call it an FSU article than a Bowden article, since it is mostly about Jimbo Fisher slowly taking over the program. In any event, here is a quote from Bobby Bowden regarding coaching:

People say, ‘He can’t coach no more.’ Well, a head coach don’t coach. [The assistants] coach. They do all the coaching.

To illustrate Paterno’s involvement, I offer a couple quotes:

CB Willie Harriott: “How did he see my hand on his [the receiver's] back from way over there?

Assistant coach Tom Bradley: “He’s still in every drill, coming around all over the same place. He doesn’t coach from a tower, you know what I mean.

Could he even climb a tower anymore?

Practice Behavior and Demeanor

Bowden: Sitting quietly in the stands watching his assistants run the practice.

Paterno: Literally kicking former guard and new center Mike Lucian in the rear for not being consistent in the shotgun snap.

Their Records

Bowden: He says he wants to finish with more than 400 career wins and take home another national title before quitting.

Paterno: “I don’t care about the record… You know when they bury you, you going to look up at your stone and say, ‘Hey, I got a record?’ You’re dead. You’re gone. I think there are other things that are more important.

Succession Plans

Bowden: Already underway, with Fisher doing the Seminole Boosters circuit and learning other aspects of the head coaching job while having the safety net of not being the head coach.

Paterno: His attitude is basically “Trust me. I know what I’m doing.”

* * *

They have similar ages and win counts, but that’s about it. They really are that different.

The reason why it’s so easy for Bowden to accept a succession plan is that he is a coach in the way that video game players are coaches. He runs the program, recruits high schoolers, and makes decisions, but when it comes to actually coaching players, someone else does it in the way that EA customers just choose the option of picking an outfit to “coach” during timeouts and seeing the results happen automatically.

He also does commercials, did I mention that?

The reason it’s so hard for Paterno to accept a succession plan is that he still is coaching the players. He’s teaching them technique, giving advice on how not to stare down receivers as a quarterback, and from across the field spying a cornerback putting his hand on a receiver’s back. He coaches everyone on the team, something Bowden has been quoted as saying is not a part of the head coaching job description.

FSU’s succession plan sounds like a great idea for easing the transition, especially since it’s so hard for Mr. Outside Hire to follow a legend at a program. Its transition program makes sense, unless FSU is actually ending up with only half an offensive coordinator as Fisher divides his time between his current and future jobs. After all, the Seminole offense actually was actually worse in Fisher’s first year as compared with Jeff Bowden’s final year.

That’s right – Jimbo’s first offense was worse than any of Jeff Bowden’s offenses.

Penn State, meanwhile, is asking for an extremely difficult situation by not keeping Paterno under contract past this year. PSU can only hope that the legend-following process there works like it did at places like Florida and BYU, where after a brief down period a sharp, young head coach came in and restored glory. The alternative could be like the unmitigated disaster that has been Alabama in the post-Gene Stallings era.

It’s impossible to say what will happen after each is no longer coaching his school. Neither program did anything of note before they got there, so there is nothing before them to base a judgment on. Even if Fisher or Paterno’s eventual successor don’t work out, it may not matter since great programs have survived bad coaches and been fine. What is clear is that you’d be hard-pressed to find two more different coaches.


Coaches’ Contracts: Urban Meyer

April 15, 2008

The SEC coach contract train rumbles along, now with Florida’s own Urban Meyer. As always, the contracts are collected and hosted by the USA Today.

Image CC by Flickr user chasingfun.

As I mentioned before, Urban Meyer is tied with Nick Saban for longest SEC contract (excluding amendments) at 32 pages. It read suspiciously like Saban’s contract at times, leading me to think that someone at UF was reading off of Mike Shula’s deal when drawing it up. It’s just something else to throw in the “Stuff we probably stole from Alabama instead of the other way around” bin along with the Gator band’s pregame routine, the “Go Gators” tune, and the unfortunate concept of a gymnastics band.

The defining characteristic of the contract is overwhelming amounts of legalese and non-standard phrasing. Nearly every sentence has the word “shall” in it, and it gives off the impression the lawyers were getting paid by the word. Going through it was an outright chore.

His bonus scheme is a little unusual, as he gets twice as big a payment for winning the SEC title game ($75,000) as he does for going to a non-BCS bowl ($37,500). His BCS game bonus is $100,000, meaning winning the SEC title game is actually worth $175,000 to him. Playing in the national title game is another $50,000 above the standard BCS bonus (so Michigan fans, you can now whine about him trying to get extra money by campaigning in 2006), but winning it all gets him $250,000.

Note that winning a non-BCS game doesn’t get him any more money than appearing in one does, and the BCS bonuses are non cumulative. Winning the national title gets him the $250,000, not $400,000. If you’re doing the math at home, his total bonus in 2006 for winning the SEC and national championships was $475,000.

So Urban, how did you spend your half million bonus after the title game? Image CC by Flickr user bobbyuggles.

The contract does acknowledge in a couple places that Meyer’s coaching services were in high demand (see quotes below), but UF didn’t throw in a clause requiring him to be a “loyal employee” like Alabama did with Saban. Rather, it gave him a $500,000 signing bonus and some of the largest longevity bonuses I’ve seen, culminating in $600,000 just for sticking around to end of the final season of the contract (2011).

About the only other unique thing worth mentioning is that Meyer officially is employed by the University Athletic Association, which from a legal standpoint is more independent than most athletic associations are. Granted, the UAA is inextricably aligned with the school and UF President Bernie Machen is the chairman of the board of the UAA, but it is a Direct Support Organization (definition here) and component of UF for accounting purposes only. That means they are able to get around certain parts of Florida law regarding state employees if they want to since he is legally an employee of the independent UAA Corporation and not the university. DSOs are explicitly allowed by Florida state law, so there are no loopholes at work here if you were wondering.

Selected Quotes:

Parties. Association is a Florida corporation nor for profit with its principal place of business in Gainesville, Florida. Urban Meyer is a resident of Gainesville, Florida.”

This is at the beginning and just illustrates the fact that Meyer is not an employee of the State of Florida but of a legally separate entity, the UAA. If it seems odd to see that it lists Meyer as being a Gainesville resident, since he was living in Utah when he agreed to take the UF job, don’t worry. The contract was signed in April of 2005, after he already relocated.

“The parties acknowledge that Coach’s skill, success and experience create a demand for his services at other universities and by professional football franchises.”

Great Odin’s raven! Does this mean that pro teams were pursuing Meyer as well, and UF beat out not just Notre Dame but the entire NFL as well? No, probably not; this is just the opening quote from the clause that gives him his signing bonus. I guess in case someone decides to audit something, they have a justification for giving him a signing bonus, something that no other SEC coach got as far as I can tell. But then, they’re all state employees and probably aren’t eligible to get one.

Sorry, but no third quote this time. It’s just too dry and boring to justify pulling anything else out. It’s not homerism; take a look at the thing and see if you get more than two pages through without succumbing to drowsiness.

Meyer asks Tim Tebow how to stay cool when “dot.com and email” gets on your case. Image CC by Flickr user bobbyuggles.


Coaches’ Contracts: Overrated?

April 14, 2008

In my world, there’s a scent of irony floating through that just as I begin a series on coach contracts, we come to find out that not everyone thinks they’re necessary.

Penn State and Joe Paterno have decided after weeks of hand wringing over him having just one year left on his contract that he doesn’t need one. PSU’s position is that his seniority is supposed to speak for itself, a contract is “not necessary or practical,” and not having a contract doesn’t imply a retirement date. Paterno, for his part, says that he doesn’t need a contract, trusts the university to do the right thing, and that if he needed a contract in order to keep his job then he’s in the wrong place.

Whether it speaks for itself or not, his seniority is certainly self-evident.

Across the border in West Virginia, neither Bill Stewart nor Bob Huggins has a contract with WVU. Apparently both have handshake and verbal agreements with AD Ed Pastilong that they won’t leave, and they are only bound by term sheets that outline their pay. Granted, term sheets can be binding legal contracts (and are in this case), but they don’t cover nearly as many legal contingencies as contracts do. They’re just bullet point outlines, after all.

Stewart and Huggins are West Virginia natives and each has known Pastilong for more than 30 years. Perhaps this is a special case in which contracts are not needed. Given Stewart’s coaching history and age, it’s unlikely that a school like a Michigan will come to poach him, and he doesn’t even have an agent. They’re probably fine with him. Huggins is a more difficult case; it’s not so much that he’d leave for greener pastures soon, but his history of misconduct should raise red flags to anyone with a proper risk management policy regardless of personal histories.

West Virginia should know better, given the messy departures of both John Beilein and another West Virginia native, Rich Rodriguez. Rodriguez’s contract clearly states beginning on page 22 the terms of his buyout. The only way he could take another coaching job before August 31, 2008 and not have to pay the buyout is if WVU breached the contract. The agreement has no room for ambiguity there. Yet, thanks to an alleged verbal agreement with Pastilong that the buyout wouldn’t be enforced, the university is now trapped in court and no doubt spending quite a bit on legal fees trying to get the money that Rodriguez is contractually obliged to pay. Rodriguez said the school didn’t fulfill promises it has made to him over the years, but without them being in writing, I doubt he’ll win his case in court.

Rich Rodriguez: willing to fight in court to save Michigan boosters $4 million that they likely are more than willing to pay. Image CC by Flickr user CA2.

The proceedings with Beilein and Rodriguez should be enough evidence for the school that having all agreements be in writing is by far the best way to go. As I said, I don’t anticipate Stewart leaving for another job, but what if T. Boone Pickens throws a mountain of cash at Huggins after the guy who replaces Sean Sutton gets fired? Huggins’ term sheet has a $1 million buyout, but no one knows what handshakes and verbal agreements might be on the side.

The rumblings up at Penn State say that a movement to get Paterno out is building steam. The only thing allowing him to coach as long as he wants at this point is the desire of Penn State not to look bad for pushing a legend out the door. Based on how shameless big time college football powers have become lately, that may not be enough. At least the school hasn’t gone so far as to try to silence critics of Paterno.

In this day and age where legal ninjas roam the countryside, the importance of written contracts should be self-evident. The potential for ugliness is greater at Penn State, but I hope WVU doesn’t make a habit of this, or we’ll probably end up with more never-ending coach litigation sagas, and no one wants that.

A legal ninja (artist’s conception).


Orange and Blue Review

April 14, 2008

Well, only a few of my pictures from the game came out since my camera is just a simple point-and-shoot deal and not a professional setup where I can adjust brightness and color. I also got home late last night so I haven’t been able to see all the coverage from ESPN that I recorded, but I have seen some. I can just tell you a few quick impressions from the game.

The Crowd

It was a record crowd, at over 61,000 for the spring game. If you’re wondering why the crowd didn’t react to what the GameDay guys were saying despite hearing their voices echoing through the stadium at times is because you couldn’t hear them that well in the stands. Even when Chris Fowler counted off for the third pregame race and the people in the stands were quiet, it was still somewhat difficult to hear him. Despite the increased numbers, it was still a standard Spring game crowd: they cheered for only for the offenses and started filing out after halftime.

The GameDay set roughly 20 minutes before the game. As you can see, the location wasn’t conducive to a standard GameDay experience.

The Races for a Scholarship

Everyone around me in the stands wondered why Fowler only announced the final heat participants, and it appears from what the TV guys yakking with Urban Meyer said is that they saved the fastest students for the last race against Chris Rainey. It’s too bad they didn’t just start that heat with a whistle because though Rainey would still have won, the students in it did look pretty fast. It did worry some people that Louis Murphy didn’t win by much, but we gave him a pass since he’s been bothered by an ankle sprain this Spring.

Who’s red shorts? I gotta recruit red shorts to come play.

The Passing Game

It didn’t look much like anything we’ll see this Fall since so many guys like Percy Harvin and Cornelius Ingram were out. Tim Tebow is clearly better than Cam Newton still, which makes sense and all but the gap is unsettlingly large. Newton’s nadir was rifling a pass intended for 5’6″ Brandon James about 9 feet high. Still, he’s big (looks like he’s been on the JaMarcus Russell diet this winter), and we’ll see him carrying the ball to pick up tough yards so Tebow won’t have to. All you need to know is that despite the teams having roughly equal receivers, Tebow threw two interceptions and still had the blue team up 28-0 in offensive points by the end of the third quarter.

If the game is any indication, we’ll see a lot of roll outs, sideline patterns, and Riley Cooper on the slant route. Until everyone gets back, though, we won’t know what the total picture will be. I do have a hunch though that we’ll see a ton of Harvin.

Florida may have the rattiest no-contact jerseys in the country. Tebow’s and John Brantley’s have the numbers fading off the front, and here you can see Newton’s with a hole.

The Running Game

Based on who played and for how long, the depth chart here something along the lines of:

  1. Kestahn Moore
  2. Rainey
  3. Mon Williams
  4. James
  5. Emmanuel Moody

James and Moore started for the orange, and Rainey and Williams started for the blue. Moody then replaced Moore in the orange’s rotation.

As I understand it, the game was a microcosm of Moody’s spring: it began slow, got better, but was marred by putting the ball on the ground. I think we can all give the “Yeah, but we got Moody” talk a rest for a while. Moore will almost certainly start the opener against Hawaii, and Williams will be able to get some tough yards up the middle.

What I didn’t get was rushing Rainey up the middle. We saw Meyer run James up the middle some last year too, and I can’t understand having undersized speed guys go between the tackles. Sure it’s unexpected, but that’s because it’s a bad idea. Rainey will be at his best on the edges in a Harvin-like role. And he will be very, very good.

The Defense

You never get to learn anything about the defense as a whole in the spring game since they can’t go after the quarterback full-on and there’s a lot more rotating of guys than normal. Carlos Dunlap has gotten a lot better, having added some technique to his natural skills, but it’s hard to say too much more.

So, I’ll just say how funny it was to see Tebow lay out Major Wright on Lorenzo Edwards‘ interception return. What you couldn’t see on TV was Wright tugging at Tebow’s sleeve after the play, evidently trying to remind him that it doesn’t just mean that he can’t be hit but that he shouldn’t be hitting other people either. He then got quite a lecture from Dan Mullen, more than what you saw on TV.

A coach’s nightmare: the returning Heisman-winning quarterback in his no-hit jersey winding up to lay out the hard-hitting starter at free safety in the spring game.

Special Teams

Chas Henry has a monster leg now. If he can be consistent, he’ll be a humongous asset in the field position game.

Caleb Sturgis definitely has a big leg, but he’s got to find accuracy. Jonathan Phillips will probably be the kicker to begin the year, but Sturgis will almost certainly do the kickoffs.

Overall

No serious injuries, and everyone had a good time. You really can’t ask for much more out of a spring game, especially when you get 4 hours of free publicity on ESPN while you’re at it.


Golf: A Good Walk Spoiled… By Awesome GOLF

April 11, 2008

Title is reference to an awesome reference book.

This weekend is The Masters, so everyone seems to be talking about it. It is a “major” tournament of course, and the only one that doesn’t rotate sites. It is allegedly “a tradition like no other,” ostensibly because of the rich stories that get woven in the signature green jackets every year. In honor of that, I’d like to tell you a story you may not have heard that you won’t find in the threads of an ugly grass-colored sport coat.

In 1989, Mark Calcavacchia won the British Open, another one of the majors. It was a proud day in Gator history as Mark attended UF, and to this day he is the top money winner among all golfing Gator alumni. To celebrate his victory not just for Florida but also America, he took all the tea in the clubhouse and dumped it into a nearby water hazard, shouting “Give me an enormous prize money check, or give me death!”

The enraged Brits running the tournament chose the latter, deciding to kill him for his heinous crime. Fortunately for Mark, Tim Tebow was nearby watching it all unfold. To rescue his fellow Floridian, he took decisive action: he threw a football so hard through London’s famous Clock Tower that time in the U.K. and for all of its citizens stopped temporarily. That allowed Mark and Tim not only to take the enormous prize money check, but also the crown jewels of England a couple Coldstream guardsman hats back with them to Florida.

The jewels were later returned under a treaty negotiated by former UF President John Lombardi himself, where in return the Crown furnished some gems that were then embedded into the official scepter of UF that appears at every graduation. True story.

The Clock Tower’s current appearance, unchanged after repairs made in 1990.

So enjoy The Masters, golf fans. I’ll be enjoying football instead.


Coaches’ Contracts: Tommy Tuberville

April 11, 2008

The USA Today’s contract database yields more fruit with the politest coach contract ever written, Tommy Tuberville’s contract with Auburn.

Image CC by Flickr user Henley24.

This contract almost reads as apologetic to one Thomas Hawley Tuberville, Head Coach of the Auburn football team. That makes sense considering what the school put him through during the Bobby Petrino scandal of 2003. Instead of beginning with ultimatums like Nick Saban’s Alabama deal does, it includes in its second section a remark that failure to extend his contract in the future “shall not necessarily be deemed an indication of dissatisfaction with the performance of Coach,” which is kid stuff compared to most other deals.

In fact, the restrictions on his personal conduct don’t even come until section 24, an amazing 21 pages into the contract. Everything before it is standard stuff about pay scale, benefits, academics, buyouts, and so forth. And speaking of buyouts, his are actually spelled out in a table rather than buried in sentence form within a paragraph like everyone else has. That’s just further proof, I think, of the impact the Petrino scandal had on his contract. After all, this is a brand new contract that got drawn up, not an old contract with several amendments stapled on later.

Amazingly, Tommy doesn’t get a country club membership paid for by the school like Saban does. Image CC by Flickr user Camp ASCCA.

If what I’ve already mentioned doesn’t cement the fact that Tuberville probably still didn’t trust the university at the time the contract was written and agreed to (February 2005), consider this. He actually has a clause, section 31, that states that he will get due process for any matters surrounding his employment, something no one else has had explicitly written out in his deal. Then again, no other coach has had his president and athletic director go behind his back as egregiously as Tuberville did.

Selected Quotes:

“It is understood that in no event shall Coach receive more than one payment of $300,000 for a National Championship… in any one year.”

Tuberville gets a $300,000 bonus for winning the BCS, AP, or Coaches’ Poll national title. This just makes sure that winning all three doesn’t get him $900,000. CYA at its finest, folks. That’s the highest bonus I’ve seen so far, with most coaches getting $100,000 for national titles; that 100K figure happens to be his bonuses for an undefeated regular season and for appearing in the SEC title game, respectively.

“Coach is employed by Auburn to succeed at a specific task.”

What task could that be? It doesn’t actually say what the task is, but it does go on to explain in the following four sentences how Tuberville and his staff have complete flexibility to set their own schedules. Again, no other contract speaks in such accommodating terms.

“All the requirements of due process under federal or state laws for Auburn University employees generally shall be afforded Coach for applicable matters arising out of Coach’s employment at Auburn University.”

This is Tuberville’s due process clause. I still find it difficult to believe that he actually made Auburn agree in print that it would follow due process laws, but here it is. He must have been really determined not to see a repeat of 2003.

Psst… wake up, coach! You’re due to process the next hole! Image CC by Flickr user Camp ASCCA.


In Gainesville This Weekend

April 10, 2008

I will be in Gainesville this weekend, visiting family and friends and of course, attending the Orange and Blue game. I’ll try to get some good pictures to share.

I’ll be interested to see the progress of Urban Meyer‘s prized Gateway of Champions, as detailed by Pat Dooley at the Gainesville Sun. Apparently it’s all covered over and will remain as such until its done, but that’s somewhat of an improvement over the random steel girders blighting the southwest corner of the stadium last fall. It apparently will contain a large alligator near the entrance with the names of every player from the 1996 and 2006 national title teams on it. That brings up two questions:

  1. Will Marcus Thomas‘ name be on it? (guess: no)
  2. Will they put the names on it like a tag cloud where the most important players’ names are the largest?

My guess on #2 is also no, though it’d be awesome if they did. It would start one of the all-time great discussions/arguments/flame wars in Gator football history. The biggest name for 1996 obviously would be Danny Wuerffel, but for 2006 I’d put Reggie Nelson‘s name as the biggest, followed closely by Jarvis Moss.

Never underestimate the importance of Jarvis Moss to the 2006 team.

If you can’t make it to Gainesville, you can watch it on ESPN at 1pm. GameDay will be there, and the first hour will be on from 11-noon on ESPN2 and the second hour is from 12 -1 pm on ESPN.

I’m looking forward to the Race for a Scholarship; it’s not that I think some random kid will beat Louis Murphy, Chris Rainey, or Deonte Thompson in a footrace, but to see just how badly three highly motivated speedsters smoke 15 regular college students. It’s too bad Percy is hurt, but the tradeoff is we get to see Rainey or Thompson go (who we otherwise wouldn’t) after not getting to see much of anything from them last year.


Coaches’ Contracts: Houston Nutt

April 10, 2008

The parade of SEC coach contracts as found at the USA Today continues with Houston Nutt’s old deal with Arkansas.

Image CC by Flickr user TipsterHog.

As I mentioned before, the USA Today hasn’t updated the contract database yet, so it’s still just Houston Nutt’s old contract for Arkansas and not Bobby Petrino‘s new deal scribed using a dead falcon’s feathers as a pen and its blood for the ink. The university calls itself UAF through the contract, short for University of Arkansas, Fayetteville.

Amazingly, his is about the most concise contract in the conference, clocking in at just 14 pages. That ties him with Phil Fulmer for shortest contract in the league. What separates his contract from Phil’s though is the 16 pages of amendments and addenda that balloon the count up to 30 pages total. Notably, a fax of a form called “Procedures for Dismissal of Head Coach for Cause” dated December 29, 2004 was added to the file. Interesting, since Arkansas went 5-6 in 2004; it suggests that the university may have been starting to build a paper trail to get rid of him.

What do you mean a paper trail means they want me to go away? Image CC by Flickr user TipsterHog.

Nutt was one of the few in the country without explicit performance incentives. The contract states that he was eligible to receive them in accordance with the policy of university’s board of trustees and state law, but he was at the mercy of the athletic department when it came to actually receiving those bonuses. To show how things change over time, his original 1997 contract said he could request a car “of a make and model comparable with that provided to the highest officials at UAF,” but a decade later he got two complimentary cars without even having to ask. The two car deal is pretty universal at this point.

His largest source of income was not actually coaching football, which got him a salary of $329,644. It was actually his coach’s show that paid him the most at $600,000. Perhaps he should have gone into the talk show business if he could make that much for a seasonal show with only 12 or 13 half hour episodes a year.

Selected Quotes:

“Coach shall have the duty and responsibility for… making a good faith effort… in meeting academic requirements by student athletes which shall include achieving goals for graduation of student athletes as established by the Athletic Director annually.”

So, if his team doesn’t meet academic requirements, it’s no problem. As long as he made a “good faith effort” it’s fine if the kids didn’t graduate enough. It doesn’t mention a goal for graduating every player that comes through the program either. This is by far the least restrictive clause of any I’ve seen regarding academic progress by the players.

“Coach shall be entitled to… tuition reduction for himself and his dependents.”

So if he wants to take classes on the side while he coaches, he still has to pay up, just at a reduced rate.

“Coach acknowledges that the University will commit substantial financial resources to the success of its football program…”

This is from the part that legitimizes a buyout since his leaving for another job would cause damages to the program. You’d think that the school’s “substantial” commitment to football success would be implicit in the huge salary that it agreed to pay its coach. Every coach has to agree that his leaving would cause damages, but only this contract makes reference to the university’s commitment to success as part of the reason for damages occurring.

Better coach ‘em up better in Oxford, Houston. Image CC by Flickr user TipsterHog.

Note: This post has been published used by WordPress’s new feature allowing you to set a time in the future for publication rather than have it go up immediately. This is the first time I’ve tried it, so if anything goes weird I blame it on that.


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