Everything You Need to Know about the Les Miles Golden Parachute
As you know, Les Miles was on the hot seat. After beating Texas A&M, however, the LSU Athletic Director said that he would not fire Les Miles. Here’s everything you need to know about the contractual issues behind any possible termination of Les Miles.
How Much Would LSU Have to Pay Les Miles If He Were Fired?
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, however, after LSU had several successful seasons, the school provided Miles with a large 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
If LSU fired him immediately, Miles would have been entitled to $15 million.
Would LSU Really Have to Pay Les Miles All This Money?
Probably not, because Miles has to mitigate his damages.
The contract 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.” For example, assume that Miles was fired on January 1, 2016. This means that he would get paid $12,900,000 in equal monthly installments over the next eight years. Regardless, $12.9 million is still a hefty chunk of change.
Plus, any money that he would he earn in the next eight years would reduce the amount that LSU would have to pay him. For example, if he were hired as another coach (and he surely would), the money paid to him by the new school would reduce the amount the LSU would have to pay him. For example, using the example above, if he were fired on January 1, 2016, but earned $6,900,000 over the next eight years as a coach at another school, LSU would only have make up the difference, or pay him $6 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?
If LSU fires coach Miles “without cause,” the school has to pay him. But if the school fires him “for cause,” the school does not owe him one penny. Could LSU fire Coach Miles for cause?
Almost surely no. 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. 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, and, thus, a termination “for cause” is not realistic.