Charlie Weis: Being Paid Not To Coach – by Two Different Universities.

Posted: September 28, 2014 in Robert J. Romano
Tags: , , , , , , ,

The first college football coach to be fired in 2014 comes early this year as Kansas fired its head coach, Charlie Weis, just four games into the season.

Coach Weis posted a 6-22 career record with the Kansas Jayhawks, including a 1-18 record in Big 12 play. The Jayhawks posted two wins this season over Southeast Missouri State and Central Michigan, but losses to Duke University and the University of Texas sealed his fate.

But the firing of Coach Weis does come with additional cost to the University and the students of KU. See Coach Weis is in the third year of a five-year contract, and like most coaching contracts – the University is obligated to pay him the balance of monies owed. Therefore, Coach Weis, whose contract calls for him to received approximately $2.5 million a year, will receive the full balance owed to him of approximately $7 million dollars. Yes, this money to pay Coach Weis for doing absolutely nothing for the next two and a half years, will be paid to him by a public university. Think about this, instead of that $7 million dollars being reinvested into the University for things like books, scholarships, dorms, professor salaries, and such, it will instead be paid to Coach Weis while he sits at home. What makes this even more ridiculous is that he will also be paid under the terms of the contract he had with Notre Dame that he signed back in 2005. Per that contract, Coach Weis will be paid approximately $3 to $4 million dollars a year through the 2015 season. (Although this amount is mitigated by the KU contract.)images

But who is to blame? You cannot blame Coach Weis because I assume he wants to earn his money by coaching the team. You cannot blame the football program and players because you have to assume that they were all playing their best.

The blame lies with the University’s administration that hired the coach and allowed for the school to enter into such terms. See, the administration was blinded by Coach Weis’s resume – for what he had done previously with other teams. Coach Weis first gained acclaim as an offensive coordinator in the NFL, posting successful stints with the Patriots and the Jets. He was then hired as Notre Dame’s head coach prior to the 2005 season where he had initial success. So KU decided to pay him based upon the success he had with these teams, not for any success that he brought to KU. And now because of this, current KU students will be cheated out of $7 million dollars that could of benefited their educational experience.

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Comments
  1. […] Charlie Weis: Being Paid Not To Coach – by Two Different Universities.. […]

  2. SportLaw says:

    “Charlie Weis: Being paid not to coach”.
    As you said you can’t blame Charlie Weis himself, since, like everyone, he defends his own interests and the more money he earns, the better for him it is. This case is similar to the critiques about the high salary in European soccer. Why should Real Madid pay a single player, Ronaldo, $21 million per year? Why people criticize him? The point is that there is money and the player just takes the money the industry gives to him.
    Back to the Weis’s case. On the one hand, we can definitely blame the University of Kansas, which has been, as you said, blinded by the coach’s resume. But on the other hand, in the situation where Weis gets paid by two universities, I think that Notre-Dame is definitely the one to blame. As we read the history of the Weis’s signing, we can notice that he first signed a six-year contract worth a US$2 million per year in 2004. On October 2005, not even one year after his signing, Weis signed an extension contract with Notre-Dame. The new 10-year deal began with the 2006 season and was to be worth a $30–40 million, which would lead Weis to coach Notre-Dame until 2015. At that time, Weis’s record was only a 5-2.
    This case raised two questions in my mind: first, why, at the extension of the contract, didn’t Notre-Dame put a termination clause in the contract telling that “in case of termination without cause, the university shall continue to pay Mr. Weis at the level set forth in this contract until Mr, Weis accepts a new position”. Indeed, on the university’s side, giving a ten years contract for $40 million could be at big risk, and it would be the university’s duties to minimize these risks. On the Weis’s side, such a contract is a big deal which worth to agree such a clause. Moreover, a coach who has been fired and who stays unemployed living on his termination fee give a bad impression in the business. However, it seems that they didn’t include such a clause. It leads to my second question. What about the termination negotiation? The university should have tried to negotiate a termination agreement reducing the salary to be paid. However, it seems that they didn’t find an agreement. Or maybe Notre-Dame has much too much money and doesn’t know how to spend it? The students probably know!
    In my opinion, the 10 years extension contract was a big mistake and the Athletic Program didn’t act with due diligence toward the university.

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