Was it worth it?
$3.25 million to fire someone. Itâ€™s hard to find a better severance package.
After two years of character issues, 40 wins and 27 losses, Billy Gillispie was fired on March 27 for not fulfilling the expectations of a UK head coach, according to an Oct. 14 Kernel article.
â€œThere was a lack of understanding that this job is more than games and recruiting,â€ UKâ€ˆPresident Lee Todd said in a March 27 news conference. â€œYou have to be an ambassador to this program and university.â€
After the end of the season, the UK Athletics Association, namely Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart, determined Gillispie had failed in that capacity.
Gillispieâ€™s character was further damaged after he was arrested and charged with drunken driving on Aug. 27.Â This was the third time he had been arrested on drunken driving charges.Â Did UK not look at these events and question his potential â€œambassadorâ€ status at the university?
If Gillispie really did enough to get fired, then why does UKAA have to pony up over $3 million to make him leave?Â In having to pay him that much money, it seems that UKAA did not have a strong enough case to fire him in the first place.
And what about the money?Â UKAA is a separate entity from UK, which means it creates its own revenue and spends its own money. So while itâ€™s not a direct hit to the university, itâ€™s still a problem to the pocketbook.
What will $3.25 million get you?Â For starters, new facilities for the athletes can be funded, which in turn gets better athletes, which leads to better teams, which leads to more revenue being generated.
Additionally, UKAA gives a portion of its budget annually to the general scholarship fund for the entire university.Â Think about how much more they could have given to the university with $3.25 million laying around in the budget.
When will this come to an end?Â Paying coaches outlandish amounts of money to coach and then firing them with a large buyout is not the headache UK needs.Â The UK menâ€™s basketball coach may have to be an ambassador for the university, but when will UKAA step up and be a role model for its students?Â Irresponsible hirings need to stop because as much as the basketball coach is an ambassador for the university, the coach is also a reflection of the people who hired him.