Price of a Memorandum of Understanding: $2.98M

Posted by rtmsf on October 13th, 2009

Let this be a lesson to all eager-beaver ADs who rush to hire a hot new coach before taking the appropriate amount of time to ensure that the contract they want has all the Is dotted and the Ts crossed.

We all know the story by now.  Kentucky AD Mitch Barnhart hired then-Texas A&M coach Billy Gillispie to a seven-year deal at over $2.3M per year one day after he interviewed for the position in early April 2007.  To make things official, Gillispie signed a three-page ‘memorandum of understanding’ that outlined his salary and general expectations to that effect, with the caveat that the two parties would come to a final agreement on terms and conditions within sixty days.

Barnhart Blew This One

Barnhart Blew This One

Well, that sixty days turned into nearly 700 days, as Gillispie never signed a contract with UK in the two years he coached there.  Over time, as Gillispie repeatedly refused to come to an agreement with Kentucky that would clearly define expectations, it was clear that he was relying on the vague language in the MOU to protect him as he increasingly came under fire for bizarre off-court behavior and questionable game decisionmaking.   When he sued the school for a $6M buyout soon after his firing in spring 2009, it was obvious to most observers that UK would have to make some kind of payment to Gillispie.  The only question was how much would he get?  We got our answer today, as UK announced the results of a mediation with Gillispie:

In a statement, the university said the lawsuits were settled through mediation. The agreement, signed Tuesday, said Gillispie would receive a little more than $2.98 million. About $260,000 will be paid by the university for attorney’s fees, as well as about $5,600 in mediation fees.

It’s very instructive that when Kentucky signed new coach John Calipari in March 2009 to a $32M, 8-year deal, the contract was written in standard boilerplate  legal language and was twenty pages in length.  Looks like Barnhart learned his lesson this time around, but his amateurish mistake in 2007 will end up costing the school an extra $3M, money that could have been better spent paying those high-priced UK attorneys to send over the template a little sooner.

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10.05.08 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on October 5th, 2008

Folks, we’re only five weeks from the first games… just sayin…

  • Sixteen months after agreeing to return to Florida after about-facing on the Orlando Magic job, Billy Donovan finally signed his contract
  • Fooling with the Thurs/Fri/Sat/Sun setup of the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament because of gas prices is pure folly – surely the NCAA isn’t that stupid, is it?
  • This is a pretty interesting NY Times article on how YouTube is changing the world of prospect identification and recruiting. 
  • More foolishness involving the Gazelle Group – they’re apparently trying to move UMass to a different subregional in the CvC at the last minute.
  • The difficulty of playing in the Big East, where 9 teams could be top-25 worthy this year.  Although Jameson at B/R makes a compelling argument that Georgetown is wildly overrated this year.
  • Ok, so it turns out that the George Mason F4 rings on Ebay were stolen and will be returned to the rightful owner, Dr. Scherrens.  Nice investigative work by Chris Brooks over at B/R. 
  • Gary Parrish continues with his ‘seedy underbelly’ offseason theme.
  • So what you’re saying is that the SEC will get seven teams in the NCAA Tournament next year (and deserve four)?
  • So who wants to bet on which coach will have the better 08-09 campaign – Marquette’s Buzz Williams or Indiana’s Tom Crean?
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What’s the Holdup?

Posted by rtmsf on November 16th, 2007

We’re hearing out of Lexington today that Billy Gillispie, seven months after his hiring at Kentucky, still hasn’t signed a formal contract.  He’s operating as head coach under his offer letter from AD Mitch Barnhart, which essentially described the terms and conditions of his compensation, but didn’t touch on the many legal ambiguities that arise from reliance on such things.   (memo to MB: next time you send an offer letter out for a contract worth eight figures, you might want to edit it so the word “contact” isn’t used in place of “contract” at least twice that we noticed.  Just sayin’.)

Gillispie MOU p.1

Our first thought other than realizing we’re in the wrong business ($2.3M base) was what’s the holdup?  The Lexington Herald-Leader points out that the offer letter doesn’t have a provision explaining what “termination for cause” means, which could theoretically include prohibitions on anything from shagging coeds Larry Eustachy-style to deweys (of which Billy G. already knows a little something).  Or the problem could have to do with the size of the buyout clause should Gillispie decide to walk away at any point in any of the first four years.   

Gillispie MOU p.2

Taking a cue from John Beilein, who ended up settling his dispute over a buyout with West Virginia for $1.5M when he skedaddled for Michigan, perhaps Gillispie would be best served to not sign that contract after all.  Especially in light of UK’s worst loss in nearly twenty seasons against Gardner-Webb last week.   

Update:  UK nation thinks this is a non-story, and they’re probably right.  ASoB and KSR riff on the situation.   

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