Everything You Need to Know about the Les Miles Golden Parachute
How Much Does LSU Have to Pay Les Miles?
In 2005, Les Miles signed his first contract with LSU. That contract was only for 4 years, and stated that LSU would pay out Les Miles’s remaining salary in the event of a termination without cause. That would have meant LSU paying out $1.8 million in 2007 and 2008, and $1.825 million in 2009 and 2010.
On January 1, 2013, LSU provided Miles with a massive contract extension, extending his contract until December 31, 2019. This amendment also specified the amount that Miles would get paid in the event that the school terminated him without cause.
- Prior to December 31, 2015: $15 million
- January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2017: $12,900,000
- January 1, 2018 to December 31, 2018: $8,600,000
- January 1, 2019 to December 31, 2019: $4,300,000
Here, LSU now owes him $12.9 million.
Does LSU Really Have to Pay Les Miles $12.9 million?
Probably not. First, the $12.9 million is reduced by the amount Les Miles has been paid in 2016 (should be a little less than $2 million).
Further, Les Miles has to “mitigate his damages,” a common contractual term. This means that Miles has to make efforts to get compensation from someone other than LSU. And any money that he receives from any other company (whether it be another school or broadcasting) will reduce the amount — dollar for dollar — that LSU owes him.
His contract also states that he would get paid in “equal installments over a period of time equal to twice the amount of time then remaining in the term of this Agreement.” Miles was fired on September 25, 2016. This means that he would get paid $12,900,000 in equal monthly installments over roughly the next six years.
But any money that Miles earns in the next six years would reduce the amount that LSU would have to pay him. For example, if he is hired as another coach, the money paid to him by the new school would reduce the amount that LSU would have to pay him. For example, if Miles gets hired by another school and that new school pays him $6,000,000 over the next six years, LSU would only have to make up the $6.9 million.
Could Coach Miles Simply Not Work and Collect All the Money from LSU?
Again, probably not. This is because the contract specifically says that Les Miles has a duty and obligation to find another coaching position. If he tries to get another job, but doesn’t, that’s one thing. But he simply cannot sit on his couch collecting his paychecks from LSU.
Can LSU Fire Coach Miles “For Cause” and Not Pay Him Anything?
If LSU fires coach Miles “without cause,” the school has to pay him. But if the school fires him “for cause,” the school doesn’t owe him a penny. Could LSU fire Coach Miles for cause?
Almost surely not. As defined in most agreements (including the one with Coach Miles), firing a coach for cause does not mean that the coach performs poorly. It has to be something much worse than simply poor performance on the field by the team or poor performance by the coach. We’re talking conviction of a felony, fraud, gambling on NCAA games, lying to LSU, those sorts of things. There’s been no allegation of any of these (yet!), and, thus, a termination “for cause” is not realistic.