Kansas’ new athletic director is protecting himself in case the FBI investigation into corruption in college basketball results in penalties for the Jayhawks’ storied program.
Included in Jeff Long’s new contract is a clause ensuring his contract will be extended equal to the length of any NCAA probation or restrictions that Kansas receives.
Long’s ability to negotiate such a friendly clause in his contract suggests he held most of the leverage in negotiations with Kansas. Long’s five-year contract will pay him $1.5 million annually, a salary that compares favorably with most of the Big 12’s other athletic directors.
Kansas likely felt it had to make such concessions to nab Long because school administrators believe he is uniquely qualified to help turn around the Jayhawks’ long-downtrodden football program. Not only has Kansas not reached a bowl game in a decade, the Jayhawks are just 3-33 in three seasons under current head football coach David Beaty.
Long, 58, is a former College Football Playoff committee chairman who has served as athletic director at Eastern Kentucky, Pittsburgh and Arkansas. He received much praise for persuading Bret Bielema to leave Wisconsin and come to Arkansas in 2012, but he was fired last year after the Razorbacks’ football program struggled to stay competitive under Bielema in the rugged SEC.
Kansas became one of the latest high-profile basketball programs to be ensnared in the FBI investigation last April when federal prosecutors alleged that the mother of one prized recruit and guardian of another received tens of thousands of dollars from Adidas via an AAU intermediary to secure their commitments to play for the Jayhawks. Kansas has an endorsement deal with Adidas and is one of the shoe-apparel company’s flagship schools.
The federal indictment does not allege that anyone at Kansas was aware of the schemes or participated in them. As a result, Kansas has been able to adopt the stance that it has been harmed by alleged illegal deals behind its back.
The timetable for the FBI investigation remains murky, so it’s unclear when, or even if, the NCAA will get involved to hand down penalties. Should that happen, it appears Long will be one of the few with little to worry about.
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