Report: Sean Miller May Be Owed Twice As Much By Arizona If He's Fired With Cause

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Ah, now here is a sensible way to write a contract: make sure you include in there some significant monetary incentive for behavior that breaches the terms of the contract.

Miller, you may recall, was reportedly caught on wiretap negotiating a $100,000 payment with agent Christian Dawkins, in order to land hot-shot recruit Deandre Ayton—a revelation that you would expect will put Miller’s future at Arizona in serious doubt.


But the conditions of his termination present an interesting set of incentives: under these contract terms Arizona would have an incentive to fire him without cause; in pure financial terms, Miller would almost certainly prefer to be fired with cause, especially if the stain of a flagrant recruiting violation makes him temporarily unemployable.

A contract that provides incentive for an organization to fire someone who’s breached their contract without cause strikes me as just the kind of thing you’d want in place if part of the responsibilities of the position involved delicate navigation of the ridiculous grey-and-out-of-bounds-areas of the NCAA’s rules on recruiting and compensating players, an area where literally everyone involved knows the coach must tread. I’m just saying.

Rush the Court tracked down the actual contract itself, which you can now find here. The relevant section goes like this:

Respective Obligations of the Parties in the Event of Termination With Cause

In the event of a termination under this Section, the University’s sole obligation to Coach shall be payment of his Base Salary as provided in Section III (and, where applicable, any accrued Additional Compensation earned under Section IV prior to the date of such termination). The University shall not be liable to Coach for any lost collateral business opportunities or other benefits associated with Coach’s position, included but not limited to opportunities provided pursuant to Section VII and IX.


A separate section lays out that termination without cause would trigger a payment of “fifty percent (50%) of that portion of Coach’s Base Salary (Program Salary plus Peripheral Duties Compensation) what would have been owed to him through the remaining period of this Sixth Amendment as provided in Section I but for termination under this Section, plus any Additional Compensation earned by Coach under Section IV prior to the date of termination.”

By Rovell’s reading, at least, this would line Arizona up to pay a full year of Miller’s salary for firing with cause, and 50 percent of Miller’s salary for firing without cause. Brilliant.