In today’s college sports landscape, coaches move from job to job while players are clamped with the transfer constraints of the NCAA. This has been unjust for quite some time now, but it seems that UCLA’s athletic department has taken some steps to ensure that their new basketball coaching hire, former New Mexico coach Steve Alford, won’t be leaving Westwood for another opportunity.
According to a published report in the Los Angeles Times, Alford’s new contract includes a buyout clause totaling a whopping $10.4 million in order for Alford to depart before the year 2016. On the side of Alford, the university would reportedly owe the same amount to the coach if he were fired, but the significance of the number is far greater as a deterrent to coaching movement.
It is widely believed that this buyout would represent the largest in college basketball history, and several of the top-notch coaches in the nation don’t have buyout clauses at all. Seeing Alford leave UCLA isn’t something that anyone would expect after he signed a giant deal in the off-season, but perhaps the way that he exited (quickly) from New Mexico has his new employer worried a bit, especially on the heels of a battle between Alford and New Mexico about a $1 million buyout from that institution.
On the court, Alford is a divisive (at least in some circles) hire for UCLA, but off the court, this contract provision will only make additional headlines if Alford was poised to leave. For $10.4 million? I believe he’ll be sticking around.