It was difficult to explain to my 7-year-old grandson, an avid baseball and Milwaukee Brewers fan, why MVP Ryan Braun was no longer in left field. Violating the rules, trying to circumvent a level playing field by taking a competitive advantage and deceiving the public, his employer, teammates and friends was a difficult explanation for a 7-year-old to comprehend. It brings to light the ever-nagging problem as to how we view professional athletes. We should celebrate and emulate their on-field heroics. Dedication, physical prowess, work ethic, perseverance, sacrifice and teamwork are characteristics that set them apart. Professional athletes' on- and off-the-field flamboyance, larger-than-life persona and constant limelight presence make them unforgettable figures in our lives.
At the time I wrote the article in Greenberg's Coaching Corner entitled "Steve Alford - Coaching Free Agency is Just a Matter of Money," Steve Alford's (Alford) completed UCLA contract was not available. A contract entitled Full Time Coach, Talent Fee & Camp Agreement - Men's Basketball dated as of March 30, 2013, by and between The Regents of the University of California and Steve Alford was recently released pursuant to an open records request. In that article I referenced a statement by UCLA Athletic Director Dan Guerrero that Alford would receive a $200,000 signing bonus, which was the amount Alford claimed he owed University of New Mexico (UNM) by virtue of his early termination. On May 17, 2013, it was announced that UNM had agreed to accept $300,000 of their original million dollar demand for early termination as a result of the Term Sheet executed by Alford on March 18, 2013. UNM also announced that the settlement resulted in a net benefit of approximately $625,000 to UNM. The additional $325,000 represented compensation that was not paid to Alford in the form of bonuses, incentives, and deferred compensation.
Steve Alford became the head basketball coach at the University of New Mexico (UNM) on March 23, 2007, replacing the fired Ritchie McKay. During his stay at the UNM he amassed 155 wins and 52 losses. Alford executed his first contract with UMN on June 26, 2007. Paragraph 7 of that contract, entitled, Termination by Request of Coach Alford, stated: Coach Alford may terminate this Agreement at any time upon thirty days notice to the VPIA. In the event that Coach Alford voluntarily terminates this agreement, the University shall have no further liability except for base salary and benefits accrued to the date of termination, a pro rata share of the Other Compensation described in paragraph 3.b.5, above, but there shall not be any liability as to the Deferred Compensation except, and only, as provided in paragraph 3d, above.
College coaches' contracts for public institutions, unless limited by some state law exception, are open to the public for review. By making an open records request, universities will provide copies of coaches' contracts and any amendments thereto. From a review of the coach's contract and what is reported by the coach to the university with respect to athletically related income, plus a determination as to whether bonuses prescribed were achieved, one could come to a fairly good understanding of what a coach's total compensation package approximates.
The college coach of today is required not only to be an instructor, but also act as a fund raiser, recruiter, academic adviser, public figure, budget director, television, radio and internet personality, alumni glad-handler, and any other role that the university's athletic director or president may direct him to do. Sports sociologists would opine that college coaches suffer from a condition known in the social science discipline as ‘role strain;’ that is, they have far too many roles to fill at very high levels of performance. It is no wonder why big time college coaches are compensated the way they are -- the job environment dictates the high compensation level.
The statistics are overwhelming. Somewhere between 1.6 and 3.8 million sports-related concussions occur in the United States every year, an estimate that led the Center for Disease Control and Prevention to conclude that concussions have reached an “epidemic” level.
Badger Nation, its administrators, players and fans, were shocked by the sudden resignation of Bret Bielema as head football coach of the University of Wisconsin. Bielema was hand-picked by his predecessor Barry Alvarez and compiled a 68-24 record (.739) in seven seasons, including three Big Ten titles. Bielema guided the Badgers to a bowl game in every season during his coaching tenure, and the team will be playing in the Rose Bowl for the third consecutive year after a lopsided 70-31 victory over Nebraska in the Big Ten Championship game. Speculation about why Bielema left Wisconsin for the University of Arkansas includes a more lucrative contract, a stronger conference, more money to hire assistants and a chance to win. As Al McGuire always would say, "Leave at the top of your game." Bielema's decision is representative of a business where turnover is commonplace, where long-term loyalty is not required and where the term of the contract is meaningless.
Mike Leach became Texas Tech University’s (TTU) 14th head football coach in 2000 replacing “Spike” Dikes. When Leach arrived at TTU, the program was on probation and the graduation rate was below average. During his time at TTU, Leach had a winning record of 84-43, making an appearance at a bowl game each year. In 2008, he won a slew of awards including the George Munger Award, the Woody Hayes Trophy, Big 12 Coach of the Year, and the FieldTurf/Howie Long Coach of the year. Additionally, the Red Raiders were the Big 12 South Division Champions in 2008. When Leach left, he was the all-time winningest coach in postseason play at TTU. Leach led TTU to ten straight bowl games and the highest graduation rate for football players from a public institution in the country. Leach served until December 28, 2009 when he was suspended indefinitely and then fired two days later. Ruffin McNeill, TTU’s defensive coordinator, was named as the interim head coach and led the team during the Alamo Bowl. Tommy Tuberville is currently the coach at TTU. Leach became the head football coach of Washington State University on November 30, 2011, and commenced his career at Washington State starting with the 2012 season. He has a five-year rollover contract which makes him the 4th highest paid coach in the PAC 12.
University of Illinois Assistant Coaches Controversy: A re-examination of Assistant Coaches’ Term of Contract
2011 was not a banner year for the University of Illinois football program. After starting with a 6-0 record, Illinois finished the season losing six straight games, making Illinois the first BCS team to open the regular season with six straight wins and closing with six straight losses. In November of 2011, acting athletic director Mike Thomas informed Ron Zook that he had been fired as head coach. Zook had five losing seasons at Illinois, finishing with an overall 34-51 record. Despite the end of the season losses and the firing of the head coach, Illinois was invited to the 2011 Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl and posted a 20-14 win over UCLA. The Illinois - UCLA contest was an interesting match-up since UCLA was given an NCAA waiver to compete despite a losing record, both schools fired their coaches, both schools were playing under interim leaders, and UCLA had four players ineligible for the game while Illinois had two players ineligible. But most noteworthy of all was a contentious legal and contract dispute between several of the Illinois assistant coaches (Joe Gilbert, Jeff Brohm and Chip Long) and the school administration.
Tattoogate has had a profound effect upon the Jim Tressel era at Ohio State University (OSU). The NCAA Division 1 Committee on Infractions' ruling was announced on December 20, 2011, and included a one-year Bowl ban for the 2012 Bowl season, three years of probation from December 20, 2011 through December 19, 2014, the forfeiture of nine scholarships during the three-year probation period, and a finding that Jim Tressel had engaged in unethical conduct resulting in a show cause penalty of five years for committing violations, including lying to the NCAA and failing to report violations. The history and findings relative to Tattoogate can be found in my article entitled Tattoogate dated January 10, 2012. But Tattoogate has also impacted the contractual relations between OSU and its successor coach, Urban Meyer. Meyer executed an Employment Agreement with OSU on June 8, 2012. The contract is worth approximately $4.44 million per year over six seasons through the 2017 season. It includes retention bonuses in 2014, 2016 and 2018 for a total of $2.4 million