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Harrick's Contract Protects UCLA


It may have appeared that the three-year contract extension Jim Harrick signed with UCLA two weeks ago had calmed the controversy surrounding the basketball coach. But an examination of the contract shows that the school has placed itself in a more advantageous financial position, should it choose to fire Harrick.

The extension, signed on March 9, did not include a raise from his base salary of $108,000, and it cut UCLA's losses in the event it were to buy out Harrick's contract.

Harrick's total package is worth about $391,000.

Under terms of the new agreement, which runs through the 1996-97 season, if Harrick were fired in any season, he would receive all of his base salary only for that season. The following season, the school would be obligated for 75% of the base salary. The next year, that figure would drop to 50%, and in the final year, to 25%.

The contract states that the University of California Board of Regents has the right to terminate the agreement without cause at any time.

In addition to his base salary, Harrick receives "talent fees" of about $120,500 a year to compensate him for media appearances. The contract also provides for a shoe contract, the use of $10,000 from an administrative fund, plus 12 basketball season tickets and eight football season tickets.

UCLA Athletic Director Peter Dalis would not comment on the contract. Harrick could not be reached for comment.

Dalis ended months of speculation by offering the extension during the last week of the season. Harrick, 54, had been heavily criticized, despite leading UCLA (22-11) to five consecutive 20-victory seasons.

Except for the extension, the contract changed nothing but the terms of Harrick's severance, putting UCLA in a position of reduced financial exposure should Harrick be fired. The previous contract called for the school to buy out the remaining years of Harrick's contract at full salary, standard procedure with a college coach's contract--and often an expensive proposition.

The athletic department is already reeling under a fiscal crisis. Last year, water polo and men's and women's crew were dropped by the athletic department in an effort to reduce a $3-million deficit. Water polo was reinstated only after boosters and alumni raised enough money to keep the program alive.

One way UCLA benefits from Harrick's contract is through the school's arrangement with Converse athletic shoes. According to a source, Converse pays the school about $150,000 a year in addition to providing the basketball program with shoes and apparel. UCLA takes 10% to 20% of that amount; the rest goes to Harrick.

The Converse contract is being renegotiated.

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