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The Saga of Mike Leach and Texas Tech: Mea Culpa and Additional Thoughts on Contract Negotiations

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Mea Culpa

Yesterday I had an exhaustive post on the contract negotiations between Texas Tech and Mike Leach where I stated that Leach had agreed to the four additional terms in the contract, and I based that statement from DMN's Brandon George's timeline from January 20, 2009 and stated as follows:

Baldwin counters with terms he says that "Mike Leach is ready and willing to accept." In the proposal, Leach’s agents seek $1.15 million more in incentive bonuses but maintain the primary compensation offer of $12.7 million over five years.

I took that to mean that Leach had accepted the terms of the contract. However, yesterday afternoon I found the actual PDF versions of the documents, and actually Tech92 found them earlier than me. In any event, Leach did not agree to those 4 terms and in an email from Mike Leach's agent Matt Baldwin to Gerald Myers, he stated as follows:

The new restrictions that you have suggested (liquidaated damages, personal property rights, outside employment) for Mike are not acceptable; but he is willing to continue to fully abide by the restrictions that are existent in his current contract: with the exception that we request that 50% of the remaining base salary and outisde income be guaranteed upon termination without cause by the University.

So this is my mea culpa, but I hope that it's clear that it was not my intent to mis-inform or mis-lead anyone.

So does this change my thoughts about this being about the money? Not really, I do think it's still about the money. I would also think that this might make Leach look a little worse in the sense that he wants the money, and he also wants the ability to shop himself to other schools without consequence or repurcussion.

Personal Likeness Rights

I found this article in the LAJ on February 7, 2009 and apparently Texas Tech and Learfield Communications, Inc. have entered into an agreement that will pay and save Texas Tech $31.7 million over over the next seven years for Learfield's right to control advertising and other revenue-generating items. Here's a portion of the article that explains the Learfield and Texas Tech relationship:

Traditionally, the athletics department has annually grossed about $2 million through its own sports marketing efforts, Tech Athletics Director Gerald Myers said. Learfield should be able to double that amount, he said. In addition, the athletics department anticipates saving $6.6 million in administrative costs over seven years by outsourcing to Learfield, a board document shows.

Snip

The company is obligated to pay Tech at least $20.3 million over the life of the contract regardless of how much money it generates through the university, according to the board document. If Learfield makes more than that amount, a revenue-sharing clause will kick in, and they'll have to share 50 cents of every dollar they earn in excess with the university. Also under the contract, Learfield has agreed to rent Tech basketball and football suites for seven years at a total price of $740,000. They'll also give Tech an accumulative $1.7 million to add a new video screen for advertising on the south side of Jones AT&T Stadium and to invest in other advertising venues.

I think Myers has made it clear that this will not affect the money that Leach is to receive from any appearances or advertisements, but Apparently, Leach and his agent do not understand how this will affect Leach. On January 13, 2009 Myers stated as follows:

. . . the declined offer would not have adversely impacted Mike's rights to outside income onor his total compensation. Furthermore, the declined offer would not have affected in any way income arranged through Mike's agent, IMG World.

On January 28, 2009, Baldwin stated as follows regarding Leach's likeness:

. . . Coach's name, likeness, voice, etc., are personal property rights that only he owns. Coach will always have the final say in how these rights are handled.

It appears that we are at an impasse.

Leach and Myers = Do Not Like

In Leach's December 16, 2008 offer, he stated that he wanted to be the athletic director for all football operations:

Full control and responsibility for managing the Football Program
Will report directly to the Chancellor of the University

You think that Leach and Myers are going to be having brunch together anytime soon?

This is a completely fractured relationship and although Myers may not have handled negotiations perfectly, I still think he has Texas Tech's best interest at heart, while I am now convinced that Myers and Hance fully believe that Leach only has his own interests at heart, which is fine, but they want some repercussions should he decide to look elsewhere.

No, Seriously, We're at an Impasse

In the January 28, 2009 letter from Baldwin to Myers, Baldwin stated as follows in regards Leach having the ability to shop around every offseason to other schools:

As discussed, Coach is willing to notify Texas Tech of any prospective job pursuits, but he will never agree to the approval and penalty structure that is currently on the table.

Considering this is the last bit of correspondence from Leach's agents, I would guess that there's no forward progress from this point forward.

Texas Tech seems fairly resolved to make sure that if Leach is going to interview, they want to be able to give their permission, while Leach wants the ability to look for employment elsewhere, each and every year, without any sort of consequence.

Chancellor Kent Hance wants loyalty from his head coach:

"I like Mike and I want him to be our coach, but I don't want his agents shopping him around every year. I found it outrageous that I saw in the newspaper my football coach was interviewing for other jobs. We expect him to notify us. We want loyalty," said Hance.

I've had my head in the sand for the past two years because I've not wanted to believe all of the flirtations with Leach and Washington, Auburn, Clemson, Tennessee, Miami, and UCLA, I think that I can now say, where there's smoke there's fire.

What Happens February 18, 2009

I'd love your comments as to what you think happens the day after the Texas Tech imposed deadline?