BSU, Idaho basketball coaches get contract extensions

BSU, Idaho basketball coaches get contract extensions »Play Video
Boise State head coach Leon Rice talks with an official during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against New Mexico, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013, in Boise, Idaho. (AP Photo/Matt Cilley)
The Idaho State Board of Education voted unanimously Thursday to approve contract extensions for Boise State men's basketball coach Leon Rice and Idaho men's basketball coach Don Verlin.

Rice earns a five-year extension through 2018 and three percent yearly raise. He will make a base salary of $482,832 in 2013-2014.

A new clause in his contract includes a monetary bonus if Boise State plays a road game in exchange for money. According to discussions during the board meeting, the clause was added as a way to supplement income for the coaching staff.

The staff could divide money remaining from paid road games after the athletic department takes $50,000 and travel expenses off the top.

Other performance incentives include an automatic one-year extension each time Rice guides the team to the NCAA Tournament or coaches 20 or more wins in a season - which he's done twice in his first two years at Boise State.

Idaho granted a three-year rolling contract for Verlin, extending him through 2016. Verlin's contract will extended automatically one year at a time for the next three years if Idaho wins 15 division I games per season. His base salary is $156,832.

In December of 2012, the board voted to limit state employee contracts to three-year terms, with five-year contract proposals to be allowed only on a case-to-case basis.

The move to three-year contracts was made to protect state university budgets from extended payments to dismissed coaches and staff.

Thursday, Boise State argued Rice deserved a new five-year contract because he originally signed a five-year deal in 2010, five-year and longer deals are the standard in the Mountain West Conference and the team's performance has been exceptional.

State board representatives spent significant timediscussing buy-out clauses (called 'liquidated damages') and the importance of increasing those amounts to reflect raises and length of new contracts.

"We should follow the policy or not," State Board of Education Vice President Emma Atchley (Ashton) said during the meeting. "Policy should reflect reality."

While the proposed contract between Boise State and Rice was not in jeopardy of being rejected, the State Board of Education collectively agreed its institutions need to take a more aggressive approach when writing buy-out amounts into coaches contracts.

The buy-out for Leon Rice was actually reduced from $250,000 to $175,000 - despite the extension and pay increase.