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Martin’s Contract With UT Bears The Scars Of Pearl’s Departure

The University of Tennessee has released details of Cuonzo Martin’s memorandum of understanding and it’s clear both parties were well aware of Bruce Pearl’s troubles while drafting it.

The school has placed what Andrew Gribble of The Knoxville News Sentinel calls a “Bruce Pearl clause” in the agreement.  If Martin is fired without cause, he will receive 60% of his base salary ($780,000 of $1.3 million) times the remaining years on his contract.  If, however, he is fired for cause — such as repeated NCAA violations — the school will owe him nothing. 

In contrast, UT just gave Pearl a parting gift of more than $900,000 despite the fact that he left the program in NCAA hot water.

But Martin’s reps also negotiated for a clause that works in their client’s favor.  Martin’s deal is for five years.  But if the NCAA smacks his program with three years of sanctions — for example — due to Pearl’s violations, those three years will be added onto Martin’s deal on the back end.  In other words, if the NCAA sanctions UT for three years and Martin is fired after four years, he will receive a buyout for four years — one from his original deal and three due to the sanctions he inherited.

If Martin fails to win early in his tenure and fans refuse to accept the fact that he inherited a mess, it won’t be easy for Tennessee to simply jettison him and bring in someone else.  Martin looks to be the man in Knoxville for a while.

That news might help to snuff out any “Bring back Bruce” movements that are sure to arise as soon as Pearl’s NCAA suspension — however long it may be — is lifted.


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