The contract South Florida gave Steve Masiello

By Nick Veronica

Manhattan basketball coach Steve Masiello signed a contract to become the next head coach at South Florida in March, only to have the contract voided when a search firm realized he never graduated from Kentucky and lied about his resume.

Deadspin got hold of the contract this week, and it’s uploaded here for all you sport law professors to go nuts with. (It looks like this was printed/scanned at a Marriott hotel? The Marriott needs a new scanner.)

Masiello would’ve earned more than $6 million over 5 years at USF (Article 5a), with a base salary of $415,000 (Article 3) and benefits and additional compensation adding at least $765,000 a year (Article 4a). His bonuses could’ve totaled more than $1 million annually (Article 5b). Too bad Article 10 did him in.

If you ever find a coach’s contract online or get ahold of one, pass it along. Here’s dissecting this one, article by article:

Introduction

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Fairly standard stuff here. The contract was dated March 24 and signed early March 25, according to the printer time and signatures at the bottom. USF gave him 30 days to agree to execute the full “Head Coaching Agreement,” which presumably further laid out how USF expects its basketball coach to run the program.

Article 1: Term of Employment

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Masiello’s deal would’ve been for five years, ending March 31, 2019 … you know unless they’re still playing in the postseason at that time, then he gets to still be the coach.

Article 2: Coach’s duties

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“Coach will … devote his full time, energy, and abilities for the exclusive benefit of the University” = hahaha we own your life now.

Article 3: Base Salary and Benefits

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Finally getting into the good stuff. Masiello’s base salary would’ve been $415,000, which was to be “paid from a variety athletic related revenue sources [sic] as determined in the discretion of the Athletics Director,” which sounds kind of weird on the surface but homeboy’s getting paid so who cares where it’s from?

“Coach will receive any and all other regular employment benefits provided by the State of Florida…” is probably insurance, that kind of stuff, expect he waives his right to earn money off of leftover vacation and sick days.

Running total: $415,000 * 5 years = $2,075,000

Article 4: Additional Compensation and Benefits

Masiello4aHere’s where contracts get fun. 4a: Masiello would’ve earned an additional $765,000 annually for agreeing to provide USF with a variety of other services, including promotional activities, appearances, fundraising events, TV and radio appearances, all at the direction of the University. This is where the big money comes in.

Doing these appearances doesn’t sound like much work for the money, but it does go back to an earlier point about the University owning your life. Got a hot date? An appointment to meet with a high-end tailor? Just wanna chill? Sorry, not tonight Steve, you have to speak to X and Y at this random fundraising event. It’s in your contract.

The $765,000 had a chance to be increased annually (Article 5a) and would’ve been paid four times a year — including the first payment that would’ve already gone through on April 1.

Running total: ($415,000 base salary + $765,000 additional benefits) * 5 years = $5.9 million.

4b: Country Club Membership

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Score. Actually, when we looked at contracts in my sport law classes in college, a country club membership was a fairly common thing to provide a coach. I have no idea what Masiello’s golf game is like, but can’t you just picture him staring down the ball before each drive? “I’m going to hurt you now.”

4c: Car

mas4cAlso fairly common. Sometimes the contract will give the coach a yearly allowance to be spent on a car, and this section can also be written to provide a car for the coach’s wife.

4d: Camps

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You know who comes to camps? Kids. Kids who can sometimes end up being recruited. Or, much more likely, kids who can get their parents to spend money on this camp and potentially on tickets/apparel/etc down the road. Heck, maybe they’ll even consider applying to the university.

4e: Endorsements

mas4eMasiello would’ve been allowed to receive endorsements (BUT NOT HIS PLAYERS BECAUSE THEY’RE STUDENTS AND THIS IS THE NCAA). The contract limited the type of agreements he could enter on behalf of the university, particularly applying to apparel and shoes. But if the university entered an agreement, it would require the coach to comply.

Article 5a: Supplemental Compensation Increases

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Not only was Masiello in line for a raise every year, but the amount by which his compensation raised would’ve more than doubled over the course of the contract.

Running total: $25,000 + $35,000 + $45,000 + $55,0000 = $160,000.
$5.9 million + $160,000 + $6.06 million.

Article 5b: Post-Season and Incentive Bonus

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Masiello’s bonuses could’ve totaled well over $1 million a year, if my math is right. Winning the conference in the regular season ($100,000) + winning the conference tournament ($100,000) + getting to the Final Four ($250,000) + winning it all ($500,000) + the six tournament wins to get there ($25,000 * 6 = $150,000) = $1.1 million, plus any other coaching award bonuses he’d get. My interpretation is that winning the national championship would earn an additional $500,000 to the $250,000 earned for making the Final Four.

All bonuses would be nullified if the team went on probation or below the minimum APR score.

Article 6: Assistant Coaches and Program Support

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If you assume he’d have three assistants and a director of basketball operations, this is a good chunk of change. I’d imagine assistant coach benefits would come from this pool too.

Article 7: Termination by Coach

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This provision basically gave the university insurance in case Masiello decided to pursue other opportunities.

Article 8: Termination by University

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Of course this part is huge.

If USF were to terminate the agreement “for reasons other than ‘for cause’ ” (aka buying out Masiello’s contract because his teams sucked), Masiello would continue to get paid his base salary but no bonuses.

If Masiello were then to get a new basketball job with a base salary above what Manhattan would be paying him (i), USF would not have to pay him anymore. If his new base salary was less than what USF was still paying him (ii), the university would only be required to make up the difference. There is also a line about him paying back money to USF if they decided they overpaid him in a lump sum.

Reasons for firing the coach “for cause” include (i) breach of his duties or employment agreement, (ii) violation of any law or applicable rule, or (iii) other misconduct, including but not limited to fraud, dishonesty, excessive use of alcohol, drugs, gambling, violence, or basically being a bad person.

If Masiello was ever fired for cause, USF would have to pay him an additional one month’s base salary, or $34,583.33 — more than a lot of people make in a year. You’ll see in Article 10 why they don’t owe him anything.

Article 9: Compliance with rules and regulations

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Don’t break rules or laws. Don’t let anyone you’re responsible for break rules or laws. Breaking a rule or law is a fireable offense.

Article 10: Representation and Warranty

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Article 10 is what burned Masiello. He signed that everything was accurate on his Manhattan Jaspers bio, which said he graduated from Kentucky in 2000. Since they found that untrue, the school has no financial obligation to him. (Wonder how it would play out in court if that URL was wrong?)

In the first paragraph, the coach also promises his old program is not under NCAA investigation and has not violated any NCAA rules. Finding he lied about this could also lead to termination with no financial obligation.

Article 11: Disputes

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Hey, they might need this one.

Nearly every contract, including most websites’ terms of service, specifies where you have to file your case. Here, it’s Hillsborough County, Fla. (Hint: you’re always going to where they are. Hope you can afford airfare.)

Article 12: Acknowledgment of Terms

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Famous last words.

Signatures

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3 thoughts on “The contract South Florida gave Steve Masiello

  1. Pretty interestin’.
    Didn’t catch the word “academics,” “student-athlete”, compensation for graduatin’ athletes, etc.
    Didn’t see incentive bonuses for anything having to do wid being a major player (pun intended) at a university, where academics are its main business.

    • That’s a good point. The only time academics came up was to say that he couldn’t get any bonuses if his team’s APR (Academic Progress Rate) score was below the NCAA standard. So no real onus for him to do well in the classroom, just to not have anyone become ineligible.

  2. Pingback: Steve Masiello can return to Manhattan once he graduates | It's Always Game Seven

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