Does Alford's UCLA Contract Provide the Right Incentives?

Jackpot! - Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODA

More evidence of the ludicrous contract given to Steve Alford by Dan Guerrero.

You read recently the big picture about how Chianti Dan's efforts have slowly been undermining the value of UCLA Basketball, if not the whole program.

Well, reading the fine print probably makes it even worse.

Jack Wang wrote in his article a couple of days ago about the rewards Steve Alford gets for reaching the Sweet Sixteen.

Let's forget for a moment the intangible rewards for TIARA.  Forget the story lines about redemption, forget the nonsensical musings about how TIARA was in fact the right choice for UCLA.  Forget all the credit he is getting for being a genius and telling the players to relax (brilliant!).

Let's look instead at the ink on his contract, which we already know contains an absurd buyout and ridiculously makes him the highest paid coach in the conference (not that UCLA shouldn't have the highest paid coach, just that it remains in question whether TIARA should be that guy).

Here are the terms that provide Alford with extra performance bonuses:

So far this season, Alford has earned $15,000 for winning the Pac-12 tournament, $25,000 for participating in the NCAA Tournament and $25,000 for advancing to the Sweet 16.

Beating the Gators (34-2) to get to the Elite Eight would mean another $25,000, while a Final Four berth piles on $50,000. A national title caps the whole load off with $75,000.

Alford makes an annual base salary of $2.6 million.

Meanwhile, here is what Ben Howland was given:

The seven-year extension Howland signed in 2008 paid him $25,000 for a regular-season Pac-12 championship and $20,000 for a co-championship, but did not reward him in the postseason unless he reached the Final Four (worth $50,000). A national title would have earned him an additional $100,000.

Why the difference?  Why was the bar lowered for Steve Alford?  Was it because Guerrero wanted to give him a good chance of getting paid even more?  Or was it because his expectations for Alford were lower than for Howland?

A lot of us believe that TIARA was given the contract that was originally drawn up for Brad Stevens, in which case it is understandable that it was structured in a way to increase his expected salary beyond the base.

But why does Steve Alford get to benefit from such a low standard?


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