A Few Random Thoughts About Firing Steve Alford Without Fear

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Bumped from a fanpost. - BN Eds.

The apologists are gone. No one, other than Plaschke, seems to be arguing that, on the merits, Alford deserves another year.

Instead, those who oppose pulling the plug, now, make two points: (1) the buyout; and, (2) the current AD will just make another bad choice.

Neither of these points need be a deterrent;

A. The Buyout
1. The buyout is negotiable — all contracts are.
a. As has been mentioned here, the buyout is not a lump sum delivered on firing. It is structured and diminished should Alford work elsewhere. So, the employer can negotiate for a lower, immediate payment which frees him to go elsewhere. Most likely, he will want to go elsewhere so this ought not be difficult to do.
b. To avoid a lump sum, immediate buyout, the university can re-assign an employee to another job — depending on the contract, within the basketball program or without; he can keep his title simply not coach (which he has not been doing anyway). We keep him on payroll and put him in charge of something meaningless behind a desk. Or, we can give him meaningful work like having him write a curriculum on the proper way to handle a situation in which a student-athlete is charged with sexually assaulting a fellow student. And, make his continued employment dependent on the quality of that work. IIRC, other universities have done this. Usually, the deposed coaches have quit.

This will entail a double salary for as long as he stays — but, it is likely that will not be long AND the amount we pay in salary may be much less than the buyout.

Or, the threat of this can result in bargaining power that diminishes a the lump sum buyout mentioned above.

2. There is no buyout if there is a firing "for cause". So, all the employer needs is a good faith basis that cause exists. Knowing the character of the employee, my money is that there are "cause" reasons for the firing; one has already been raised here, often — "nepotism" in the hiring of one’s son. Someone has to do a serious analysis of the contract, demand some records under FOIA and dig into some basic facts.

Once more, if there is a good faith argument that cause exists, to avoid a nasty fight, both parties can go to the bargaining table to negotiate the appropriate severance package and termination of the buyout obligation.

B. The AD cannot be trusted to either fire or hire correctly.
There is no doubt that we all agree on this. However, the situation is not as cut and dried as one might think.
1. I have proposed, before, that we allow DG to retain the title of AD BUT REMOVE ALL POWER to negotiate the exit package for Alford or to hire his replacement. This can only be done by a power play by people of influence, be they donors, faculty, politicians, or regents. Dan has made enemies in all of those categories. I don’t have a sense that he is interested in the job of AD. My sense is he cares about the title, salary and trappings. For now, let him have them. Just cut off his power.

There are rumors that he was not as actively involved in the hiring of Alford as might be assumed. If they are true, he probably won't mind letting others do the heavy lifting in the back ground. He can take credit for the hire. I don't care, so long as it is a good one.

C. We can deal with dumping Dan at a later time. It may never happen. Right now, our strongest case is to bring in a real coach for our legacy program.

Let's not take on too heavy a load.

Or, worse yet, let's not let fear immobilize us unto complacency. Neither the buyout nor the current AD are insurmountable road blocks. They are bumps we can push aside.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of BruinsNation's (BN) editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of BN's editors.