Report: Tech owes Leach $1.7 million in guaranteed '09 money

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It’s been a little over six months since Mike Leach was fired by Texas Tech, but the soap opera surrounding the dismissal soldiers on.

On the same day that a judge ruled that the university is not shielded from Leach’s lawsuit through sovereign immunity — and the suit can continue on — comes a report that Tech is refusing to pay Leach money that he was contractually obligated to receive last year.

According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and citing two sources close to the coach, Tech, while they paid his base salary of $300,000, has yet to pay Leach at least $1.7 million the coach earned in 2009.  The money comes from guaranteed outside income and bonuses written into the contract he signed in February of ’09 after months of contentious negotiations.

“Texas Tech didn’t pay Mike Leach for all the work he did in 2009,” one source told the paper. “Imagine Mack Brown working for his school and they just decide they’re not going to pay him. That’s what we have here with Mike Leach.”

The money — $1.6 million in guaranteed outside athletics-related personal income and $100,000 in total bonuses for a bowl appearance, finishing in the Top 25, winning five Big 12 games and a graduation rate above 65 percent — was to have been paid to Leach no later than Feb. 15 of this year.

“His base was $300,000, and then his other [salary] was outside income. He’s been paid his base,” Tech athletic director Gerald Myers said. “But there’s a lawsuit going on and I’m really not at liberty to talk about what Leach is owed and what he’s not owed.”

One source warned that what Tech is doing “is dangerous”, and then seemed to issue an ominous yet veiled threat.

“Texas Tech is basically saying that the contract Mike Leach signed is not worth the paper it’s written on.”

I don’t know what Tech’s line of thinking is, but if it were me, I’d pay the money Leach earned in 2009.  That’s one less bullet his lawyers would have in the chamber as the lawsuit continues to slog its way through the legal system.

But, what do I know.  I wouldn’t have fired the man in the first place.