Archive for Friday, May 9, 2008

Mayer: Self’s contract complex

May 9, 2008


Simple, huh? A guy runs a stellar basketball program, wins two more league championships and the national title and deserves a new contract to keep Oklahoma State wolves at bay. Write it up, boost the pay and benefits to match other headline coaches' goodies, throw in nifty bonuses and incentives and get it signed. It's not that easy.

KU's Bill Self had a number of caveats in mind like longevity, improved facilities and such in addition to all the usual glittering gains. Then what about making it certain the arrangement will stand up even if current throne-dwellers aren't around?

Chancellor Robert Hemenway and athletic director Lew Perkins are 65-ish types who may not be on the scene 10 or 15 years down the line when Self still wants to be. Hemenway plans to teach after he leaves Strong Hall. What might a new chancellor decide?

Perkins has a $650,000 annual package plus an unlimited expense account and other benefits. He also has a $1.3 million bonus, tax-free, I'm told, if he fulfills a six-year contract ending June of 2009. How likely is it that Perkins, despite the perks, will spend another 10 years in his high-pressure job?

It's no mystery why Hemenway, Perkins, Self and high-powered attorneys like the noted Rick Evrard have issues to resolve before Self has all the things he wants and deserves. Mandatory is a longevity clause that extends beyond the tenures of Bob and Lew. Evrard is a sharp attorney, a former NCAA enforcement expert, who worked with Perkins at UConn.

Rick also helped Perkins pull strings to keep KU from getting more severe penalties than it got in October, 2006. Escaping from that "lack of institutional oversight" thicket as well as KU did speaks volumes about the acumen of Perkins and Evrard.

So Self is involved with getting a new contract that also takes good care of his staff and makes their six-figure packages even niftier. When women's basketball coach Bonnie Henrickson has a $635,000 annual take with marginal productivity up to now, you know Self will make sure his guys are generously remunerated.

Lordy, the Magna Carta was easier to wring out of the evil King John in 1215 than a contract deal this complicated. No wonder it's taking a while to finalize it. Look how long it took West Virginia to form a 10-year, $20 million bundle for Bob Huggins after he walked out on naive, too-trusting K-State?

Do lawyers rule the world?

Sometimes it seems that when folks in the KU athletic department have things moving along fairly smoothly, they form an emergency committee to determine just what unique new gimmick KUAC can devise to tick off the populace. Now comes that $6,400 KU is seeking from the chamber of commerce and Downtown Lawrence for cancellation of a basketball honor event at the Holidome. Hell, you might find that much spare change sweeping out Perkins' office every week! Have they no shame?

The New Order has accomplished many notable things and has a fabulous chance to surf on a wave of good feeling created by the football-basketball successes. Yet for all their expertise in other areas, sometimes The Suits seem to go out of their way to flunk an important test in image-repair and improved public relations.


Martin Shupert 9 years, 11 months ago

Wow. How much harm can chump change buy? KU would not blink at a bill of a few thousand dollars for a commercial extolling its virtues, yet turns in a bill to the Chamber of Commerce in spite of the harm it should realize this pettiness will do? Just weird. I would imagine that the blade could cut both ways. What if the City of Lawrence sues KU for the cost of winning the championship? Those streets needed cleaning twice. The police hours, etc. If I were KU, I'd eat that ticket and forget about it.

Bob Forer 9 years, 11 months ago

"Now comes that $6,400 KU is seeking from the chamber of commerce and Downtown Lawrence for cancellation of a basketball honor event at the Holidome. Hell, you might find that much spare change sweeping out Perkins' office every week! Have they no shame"Most informed folks couldn't agree with you more, Mr. Mayer. IN fact, the arrogance of the KU administration, in its dealings with Lawrencians and the Lawrence City Government, is becoming legend. The animosity and lack of cooperation has been the subject of much debate on the editorial pages of the LJW, in City Commission meetings, and in the reader comment sections. What I find particularly disturbing is the lack of leadership on the part of KU faculty. For years, the KU faculty has played dead while the Hemmenway leadership, or rather, the lack thereof, has allowed KU academics to deteriorate, along with the town/gown relationship. Collectively, the faculty are a bunch of wimps.

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