Thursday, April 21, 2011

Calhoun May Not Get National Title Bonus

While John Calipari will get $325,000 in postseason bonuses despite losing to Jim Calhoun in the Final Four, Calhoun may not get one dime back for winning a national championship.

Here's my story in today's Register detailing how Calhoun may not get his $87,500 bonus for winning the national championship due to the program's failure to meet APR standards.

The gist: according to the five-year contract extension Calhoun and UConn agreed to back in May, Calhoun is to receive a bonus equal to three months of his annual salary for winning the NCAA championship. Calhoun’s base salary is currently $350,000 (he makes nearly $2 million more in speaking and media fees), so that bonus, which would be paid out in August, would equal about $87,500.

However, the contract also stipulates that such a payment would only be made “if the Academic Progress Rate (APR) … for the men’s basketball team has been satisfactorily met.” UConn should learn in a few weeks whether it meets APR standards, but it’s a virtual certainty that the program will fall short of the standard score of 925.

That means Calhoun could suffer a double-whammy: not only could his bonus be kept from him, but per his contract, he must also donate $100,000 to UConn’s general scholarship fund if the men’s hoops program fails to meet APR standards. Oh, and the Huskies would lose at least one, and most likely two scholarships for next season (on top of the scholarship they’ve already been docked by the NCAA committee on infractions).


Some at UConn believe the school’s new administration, headed by incoming president Susan Herbst, could overlook the contract stipulation that Calhoun doesn’t receive his bonus. But if not, failing to meet APR standards could ultimately cost the 25th-year UConn head coach about $187,500.

The APR is a metric established by the NCAA in February, 2005, to measure the success of collegiate teams in moving student-athletes towards graduation. Each player on a given roster earns a maximum of two points per team – one for being academically eligible and one for staying with the institution.

The fact that Kemba Walker is on course to graduate in three years won’t help UConn right now, since this year’s APR, which should be released in mid-May, is based on the most recently completed academic year and the last reported four-year rolling average. That means that for this season, the APR data for 2009-10 is utilized.

In order to avoid scholarship reductions (and, in Calhoun’s case, to earn his postseason bonuses), teams must have an APR above 925 – equal to a 50-percent graduation rate.

What will hurt the Huskies this time around is the amount of players who left the program ineligible, and not on track to earn their degree. Once again, the program will get burned by Nate Miles, who was expelled from the school in the fall of 2008. His departure has counted against UConn’s APR score for the past two academic years, and will continue to do so for the next two, as well.

And this probably won’t make Calhoun feel much better: Calipari, his longtime nemesis whom Calhoun beat in the Final Four, is scheduled to earn $325,000 for Kentucky’s postseason run. According to reports, Calipari earns $50,000 for winning the SEC tournament, $100,000 for reaching the Sweet 16 and $175,000 for reaching the Final Four. That means Calipari’s bonuses alone nearly equal Calhoun’s base salary.

Calhoun’s contract has no bonuses for winning the Big East tournament. He would have earned half a month’s salary for winning national coach of the year and a quarter month’s salary for being selected Big East coach of the year, but he won neither.

Oh, and this: Geno Auriemma (another one of Calhoun's not-so-good friends) is slated to receive his bonus of about $58,333, even though the UConn women’s basketball team was upset in the Final Four. Auriemma has the same base salary as Calhoun and the same bonus stipulations: a month’s salary for reaching the NCAA tourney, two months’ salary for reaching the Final Four or three months’ for winning the national title.

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