Martin Jarmond is UCLA's new Athletic Director. Here's how he can start turning the department around immediately.
Thanks for the great article, Joe. I can't begin to imagine what Trojan faithful would think if the Bruins jump in and nab Meyer. I'm not a lawyer, so someone else would need to make sure that the points you've brought up relative to the contract with Kelly will justify his dismissal in the way you've outlined. For me, personally, I couldn't begin to imagine what would happen with the football program with Meyer in charge. What he was able to do at Utah still boggles the mind. The sheer amount of talent in the So Cal area alone would more than fuel a resurgence and create a true powerhouse in the program. What a refreshing change it would be to stop supplying schools outside CA with the talent that comes out of the high schools in the area.
I do have a couple of questions when it comes to Meyer:
1. Will he be interested in coaching at UCLA with a lackluster administration and fan support?
2. Are there issues to be concerned with relative to the Zach Smith situation? Do we support a head coach who acted the way he did in that situation?
I have a few major issues with this:
1. If they actually tried to use that loophole to get Chip fired the optics would be so incredibly terrible for UCLA that it'd be a struggle to get any major coach to want to come here. To use a national crisis in which he's not allowed to have practices as an evidence of his inability to do his job would not only be blind of all context but just flat out dirty and gross. If they attempted to do something so shady I would lose a ton of respect for the people in that Athletic Department, but that's not going to be an issue since...
2. There's no way it'd stick. Due to UCLA not being allowed to conduct practices I doubt you could make a convincing argument that it's a matter of "coach's inability" as much as it is just a rule he has to abide by. So then all of his job responsibilities would be operating under whatever Cara they're allowed at this point which is mostly just going to be team and staff meetings, as well as recruited. Which, and I don't know anyone in the department but it's fair to assume, he's probably still doing. So I don't even think this is even a possibility.
3. I think you're greatly underestimating how difficult it's going to be to bring people back to the Rose Bowl if you think the attendance is the "easy part". Attendance was still not that good in Chip Kelly's first year and if someone with that kind of college track record, especially someone who coached in the same conference so UCLA fans actually saw, didn't get butts in seats, it's going to take a lot of sustained success to actually draw people in. And this roster is not built for sustained success, especially if Miller Moss doesn't commit, so even with a new, better coach we're probably three years from being good again at a minimum. The only exception to this would probably be Urban Meyer but I don't think he'd be interested in coming to UCLA.
So, yeah. I am an advocate for moving on from Kelly sooner rather than later but this is not the way to do it.
Release Kelly and land Meyer? Ah. Isn't it pretty to think so?
But we'll sooner add women's hockey before the new AD cans Chip and brings in Urb.
(yes, ASDK - I know we aren't adding ANY sports any time soon)
Joe, I love you but this is not a serious conversation. Not going to happen. Period. The Chipster would sue, the program would be in ESPN headlines, no kids would come - even in the current environment where the top PAC 12 players are going to scoot anyway. The PAC 12 is a fire sale. Gov Gav isn't even thinking about letting football in stadiums start again and you're projecting Meyer to Westwood? Joe it's a train wreck. Brutal. The new guy is facing a truly ugly situation. But, hey they gave him a lot of dough didn't they? Now that is interesting. Running a huge freaking debt but money is no object . . . wtf? But this is how they've been running the ship isn't it? And now Joe you're asking for logic? Well hey good luck with that. Question, how does paying the new guy a small fortune fix UCLA football (and other revenue sports in general)? He must be some super hire . . . or was this just what it took to get somebody to take this job? MAXBRUIN
This is an incredible opportunity. Thank you very much Joe for bringing attention to this. How can we make Jarmond aware of this? We deserve a little luck and this clause along with Jarmond’s relationship with Meyer would be catching lightning in a bottle.
...so...you're saying there's a chance? ~Lloyd Christmas
I kid, but I think most will agree you are describing a 'thread the needle' move by the new AD. It would be great if it happened. Interesting clause of the contract, certainly opens up possibilities. Sadly, highly unlikely.
That goes against the face of what was expected. The conventional wisdom was that UCLA was going to pay its new AD not just less than Dan Guerrero, but substantially less than him. I think most Bruin fans would have been ok with that.
My son is a sports writer at the Las Vegas Review Journal. He told me some interesting facts about our coaching search. The search came down to two finalists, Jarmond and Desiree Reed-Francois at UNLV. For whatever reasons, Reed-Francois withdrew her name for the position. That left Jarmond as the only candidate left. At that point, UCLA had no bargaining power or the negotiations. If they didn't pay what Jarmond was asking, he would walk and UCLA would be left with nobody or like usual, we would have to settle for a 4th or th choice like we always do when negotiating athletic hires.
So we were left in a bad negotiating position as we always are.
Do we have this right? Desiree Reed-Francois, even though a Bruin grad, decides the job is impossible. She'd rather remain at, stay with me here, UNLV. And the cracker jack search committee - having put nearly a year's worth of effort into the task - is left with no choice except to offer the last standing applicant a small fortune to "please accept" the job as UCLA's new AD. Oh yeah, Bruin, football and the other revenue sports are in great shape, you know why? Because these folks really know what they're doing . . .
This is just not what force majeure is. There is no legal basis supporting the theory that COVID-19 excuses UCLA's contractual obligation to pay Chip Kelly. A force majeure is only triggered if performance under the contract is so impractical or impossible that it is excused. Really, the end of the inquiry is that COVID-19 does not render UCLA's performance under the contract impractical or impossible. The season has not been cancelled. Sure, spring practice ended early. Recruiting has been affected. Does that legally terminate the contract of every college coach in every sport in the country (not to mention many other professions)? No. Even if the season is cancelled, college football will eventually restart. Under that scenario, UCLA would have an argument to not pay their coaches for the cancelled season.
Consider this hypothetical: UCLA terminates Kelly's contract by reason of force majeure. Kelly sues. Losing party appeals. Court of Appeal sides with UCLA. There is now legal precedent many, if not most, if not the vast majority of employment contracts in this state (not just football coaches) are terminated. It's important to note that force majeure is not just a legal theory that may or may not be in an employment contract. It's codified in the civil code. But performance under the contract has to be impossible or impracticable. Is that the current situation for college football coaches. No.
It would really take me pages and pages and pages and pages to fully explain why force majeure does not come close to applying here, but the above sums it up pretty nicely. If anyone is actually interested in the full legal reason, it's all over google. Virtually every business lawyer in the state has had to brief themselves on this issue the last few weeks so there are a lot of articles on it.
More importantly: what a pathetic move this would be for the new AD. What a cowardly signal it would send. If he thinks the football coach should be terminated, he should TERMINATE THE FOOTBALL COACH. Not dance around the issue. Call a press conference. Fire him. And say he is being fired because he failed.
How would Covid NOT be considered a force majeure event? That doesn't mean firing Chip that way wouldn't be sleazy, but you do need to be ruthless if you want to be successful.
EVERYONE, including on Bruins Nation, called Chip a home run hire. I believe Meyer would be as well, but would we prefer to have top 10 recruiting classes and Jim Mora right now? What about the moral issues of Meyer and just OSU in general considering Jarmond was there? He couldn't have been oblivious to their "culture," but only complicit.
Pyramid of Success
This is not how force majeure clauses work. If COVID 19 for instance killed the entire UCLA football roster then you might have an argument. Until then, we have to pay him.
I think Meyer or any other hall of fame caliber coach is a total pipe dream. Why? UCLA is where football coaches come to kill their legacy. We are not going to get established elite coaches until that changes. Chip Kelly, while he failed in the NFL, still had a reputation as at least a very good college coach. That is gone. We need to fix our program, then maybe go after someone like Urban Meyer. He's not coming.
Reed-Francois seemed like the better hire overall. Not only is she an alum, but she has shown that she can quickly improve a school's financial position as she has done at UNLV. Given our fiscal hole, her skill and experience in generating revenue makes the most sense for us. Going with a less-proven and less-experienced candidate gives me cause for concern. Nothing against Jarmond. I hope he is able to reinvigorate our fans and donors. I'm sure he is qualified to do the job. I just don't have confidence that he will make an immediate impact as Reed-Francois likely would have done. Again, I hope I'm proven wrong.
Joe, you got everybody on this site talking and yacking Bruin stuff and that's half the battle. Good on you.