CRAWFORD | Mack's Louisville contract: Risk-management and reward
With national scandals brewing around the nation, including at the University of Louisville, the contract of new Cardinals' coach Chris Mack represents a new level of responsibility facing coaches moving forward.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- As universities adjust to life with a major federal investigation into college basketball corruption ongoing and allegations at Michigan State, Baylor and elsewhere indicating an appalling lack of response to serious misconduct and even criminal activity on some campuses, expect the contracts of highly paid head coaches to reflect a tougher stance on dealing with NCAA rules and off-the-court issues.
That clearly is evident in the contract former Xavier coach Chris Mack signed at the University of Louisville late last month. His predecessor, Rick Pitino, signed a contract extension in 2015 that ran 15 pages. Mack's contract is a full 10-pages longer, and the requirements on him are laid out in far greater detail, with an eye toward problems that the university is dealing with, and that other universities are experiencing.
An analysis of the 25-page document signed by Mack on March 28 and by Dr. Greg Postel on March 30, shows that it pays far closer attention to specific NCAA bylaw language and takes note of current (or future) federal investigations into college basketball, and into the coach’s responsibility to report sexual assault or other Title IX-related misconduct to the proper authorities.
With an eye toward situations at Michigan State, Baylor and elsewhere, the contract, in addition to the usual language mandating that the coach adhere to NCAA rules, also states that Mack will adhere to procedures, rules and regulations set forth by, “Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the Violence Against Women Act’s amendments to the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, and/or any similar state or local law.”
Along those lines, the contract further states, “if coach shall become aware of any fact, occurrence, circumstance or state of affairs that he is obligated to report pursuant to the Title IX policies, he shall immediately and directly report such information to the University’s Title IX coordinator. If coach shall become aware of any fact, occurrence, circumstance or state of affairs that would cause a reasonable person to suspect a possible violation of any other employer or university policy, procedure, rule and/or regulation, coach shall immediately report such to the university’s vice president for enterprise risk management audit, and compliance.”
This is the new world in college sports, as athletics departments deal with high-profile problems and allegations. U of L has not been subject to a Title IX sexual assault complaint. In Kentucky, both the University of Kentucky and Eastern Kentucky University still have active complaints, while in Indiana there are five active complaints at Indiana University, one at Purdue and two at Notre Dame. Louisville athletics director Vince Tyra said you can expect most coaches’ contracts moving forward to include language tailored toward addressing those kinds of situations.
“To a big degree,” he said. “If you look at Chris’ contract, language-wise, there’s certainly belt and suspenders on it, versus what you’ve seen in historical contracts, here or at other universities. We used a group that is national, that does this for a variety of university coaches, and they would tell you, this is the trend. They’re getting stronger and stronger.”
The NCAA language in Mack’s contract also is more specific, harkening back to allegations made against Pitino, interpretations of which are under legal dispute in the wake of firing the Hall of Fame coach.
In addition to spelling out that Mack is required to “establish and maintain head coach control over the program as such concept is defined by the NCAA and updated by the NCAA from time to time,” his contract specifically notes that Mack “is presumed to be responsible for the NCAA compliance actions and omissions of all employer and/or university personnel who report, directly or indirectly, to him.”
There is no longer a layer of protection, as was explicitly written into one prior contract with Pitino (singed in 2010), for instance, which included the clause, "with the understanding that (Pitino) shall not be responsible for misconduct of third parties, assistants, or other representatives of the athletic interest of employer and university, unless employee was aware of such misconduct and failed to promptly report it to employer."
Mack’s contract also mandates that he meet with the university president annually for a compliance review, and same with the athletics director. It stipulates that he actively monitor all staff members, set up a policy and procedure for doing so in writing, and solicit feedback on those monitoring activities, and that all compliance efforts are to be documented, in writing, and that he should be able to produce that documentation at any time it is requested.
(One reason for Pitino's five-game suspension is that such written documentation of monitoring and follow-up efforts was not kept.)
The contract requires that Mack has fully disclosed any past or possible NCAA issues to the university, and that any failure to do so will be constitute a material breach of the contract.
And there is the standard morals clause, that allows the university to fire him for cause for the “commission of any act, whether occurring prior to or during the term (of the contract), that in the employer’s reasonable discretion: brings disgrace or embarrassment to the employee, university or coach; tends to shock, insult or offend the greater Louisville and/or university alumni communities; manifests contempt or disregard for diversity, public morals or decency; or violates employer and/or university policies, procedures, rules or other regulations with respect to personal conduct.”
For all of these things, of course, Mack will be well-paid, among the half-dozen highest-paid coaches in college basketball, in fact. The base salary of $4 million over seven years has been reported, as have many of the incentives and increases, including $250,000 for his first trip to the Sweet 16 and $250,000 more for his second (increases that will be paid in 2021 and 2023 even if he has not made the Sweet 16).
Here are a few other items under "additional compensation:"
- $25,000 if named ACC coach of the year
- $50,000 if named national coach of the year
- $50,000 for an ACC regular-season title
- $50,000 for an ACC Tournament championship
- $50,000 for a Sweet 16 appearance
- $50,000 for a Final Four appearance
- $100,000 for an NCAA championship
- $50,000 for a single-year academic progress rate above 950 (the program has been above 1,000 for the past several seasons)
- $50,000 for a team grade-point average of 3.0 or better
- Signing bonus of $3 million (Xavier buyout) plus taxes of about $1.2 million
- Membership in the University of Louisville Golf Club
- $1,500 per month automobile allowance
- $12,000,000 term life insurance policy
- Expenses for Mack’s wife and up to six additional members of his immediate family to travel to road games.
- 16 club seats and two parking passes for each basketball game
- 8 tickets and two parking passes to each football game
- Revenue from summer basketball camps
- $50,000 (maximum) for moving expenses
Copyright 2018 WDRB Media. All Rights Reserved.