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Texas Tech Thursday Morning Notes - Extort Me Down Edition

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The Saga of Mike Leach and Texas Tech - Media Blitz

I don't have time to do a full write-up on Leach and the negotiations with Texas Tech, which apparently there are no further negotiations. That didn't stop Leach from taking interviews with each and every media outlet known to man yesterday (yes, that's an exaggeration).

Leach to Attend Board of Regents Meeting

The absolute latest bit of news is from DMN's Brandon George who writes this morning that Mike Leach intends on attending the Board of Regents meeting on Friday:

Texas Tech coach Mike Leach said Wednesday he plans to attend Friday's Board of Regents meeting that could decide his fate.

Perhaps that's a really good thing. Leach needs to be in that room and needs to hear their frustrations. Both parties have used the press to play their stories in the public with Texas Tech releasing the emails and correspondence between the parties, while yesterday was Mike Leach's day in the media.

Extortion

I'm sure this quote is in 1,000 places, but I'll use FWST's Dwain Price article today where Leach expresses his displeasure regarding the buyout (emphasis mine):

"What are they going to do after they [get] you to [sign] the sub-par deal?" Leach asked. "Then the next year they’ll come at you and say, 'All right, we want to give you an extension again, and we’re going to knock off another quarter of the thing, so take this one or we’ll fire you.’

"And they’ll just kind of extort me down to damn near nothing."

Let's see, extortion:

The act of extorting; the act or practice of wresting anything from a person by force, by threats, or by any undue exercise of power; undue exaction; overcharge.

I don't quite think that negotiating a contract is equivalent to extortion, especially since there's a choice, agree to the terms or not. I'd also contend that Leach should be able to survive on his current salary. Again, yesterday wasy Mike's day in the media, so the spin today will obviously be in favor of Leach. Personally, I don't think it's unreasonable for Texas Tech and Leach to reduce the buyout based on years spent at Texas Tech, which Texas Tech's current proposal has (reduce the buyout amount by $300,000 for each year that Leach coaches at Texas Tech).

Perhaps there's some give-and-take between the parties on this point, which seems to be the biggest point of contention.

National Stage

I don't have time to link each and every interview and article written about Leach, but LAJ's Don Williams talks about a couple of articles, including Tony Barnhart thought that the Leach's opinion of the buyout is a trend that is fading with college athletics:

"Mike Leach seems to be operating under the old set of rules that favor the coach,’’ Barnhart said. "In the new way, the buyouts are going to be more equal. That’s a new reality a lot of coaches are having to face right now.’’

ESPN's Bruce Feldman feels that the Texas Tech/Leach contract issue is the offseason's biggest soap opera and has quite a bit on the entire bizarre scene in Lubbock.

ESPN Big 12 blogger Tim Griffin has the video from College Football Live as well as some commentary on the situation with this bit that I don't think is getting as much play as it should and explains why Leach and IMG are balking at the 4th clause regarding marketing (emphasis mine):

Interestingly, Tech has just signed a multi-million sports marketing deal with Learfield Communications that will be worth at least $20.3 million to the school, providing rental of stadium suites and a new video screen at Jones AT&T Stadium. Tech was the last school in the Big 12 that outsourced its sports marketing business.

One of Learfield's biggest competitive rivals is IMG, a leading collegiate marketing and licensing company that also represents football coaches.

And one of IMG's top clients is Mike Leach -- making it understandable why the thought of a school-managed representation deal for Leach become such a contentious topic in his contract negotiations.

A Shocker

Mike Leach said that he would be shocked if he were let go from his current contract and intends to play out the final two years of his current deal. I call B.S. I don't know of any coach that would be content to play out a contract that is only 2 years. In fact, I wonder if there is a current big-time college football coach that only has 2 years on his current deal. Here's Leach:

"I can’t fathom why," he said. "We already have a deal. Both parties signed it. So I suspect it’s just a rumor. I mean, if you’ve got a guy that’s contracted for two more years, that seems like an odd approach. Of course the other thing, obviously, is when you consider the body of work."

The Board of Regents

LAJ's Marlena Hartz has some quotes from the Texas Tech Board of Regents and surprisingly they understand that this situation has played out poorly in the media and that Leach fills the coffers of the university.

"As a regent, I want to protect the reputation of Texas Tech University. I think in order to do that, we just have to get (this) worked out. This stalemate, especially in the media, is just not good for Texas Tech. There are no winners," said Regent Windy Sitton, who will not be able to participate in the teleconference due to a prior commitment.

Here's, possibly, a little clarification as to who has the power to fire Leach:

Tech President Guy Bailey, who couldn’t be reached at his office on Tuesday, does have the power to fire Leach. So does Athletic Director Gerald Myers, Sitton said. Myers has been at the center of the bitter contract disputes with Leach’s agents. He did not return A-J phone calls on Wednesday.

And the importance of Leach to the university:

"There’s enough blame to go around, but I think we need to get that behind us and look at what is in the overall best interest of Texas Tech. I would hope that both sides realize the need to continue to put Tech on a national scale regarding our football program," Sitton said, adding Leach "pays the bills, he fills the seats."

Serna said, "Coach Leach is a dear and greatly respected member of the Texas Tech family and he’s had a very successful coaching career here and I hope it continues for many years to come."

Red Raiders Never Catch Up

That was another tough game to watch. Too many silly mistakes and mental breakdowns. LAJ's Jeff Walker and DT's Alex Ybarra file their game stories from Texas Tech's 82-92 loss to Oklahoma State (boxscore). I don't have just a ton of thoughts on the game except that this still has a ways to go.

Rueda Ready

DT's Mike Graham takes a look at senior infielder Willie Rueda and head coach Dan Spencer thinks that if Rueda has a good year then Texas Tech should have a good year:

"If Willie has a good year, which I expect he will, then we should be good offensively," Spencer said. "He's going to give guys a chance to hit with a man on base. You're a better hitter with a man on base. There's more space in the infield."

There's a ton of games starting this weekend and it should be perfect baseball watching weather (for the most part). Here's the official release and this weekend's schedule:

Opponent Date Start Time
Southern Utah 2/20/2009 1:00 p.m.
Texas-Pan American 2/20/2009 4:00 p.m.
Southern Utah 2/21/2009 3:00 p.m.