Now that a two-year NCAA investigation into LSU football recruiting violations is over, LSU may soon finalize Les Miles’ new contract.
The proposed seven-year contract for the football coach likely will not be formally approved until September, at the earliest, more than eight months after LSU first announced the deal, LSU Chancellor Michael Martin said. But Martin and Miles both insist that time is not a critical factor because the head coach’s current contract runs through December 2012.
“Since Les has a contract and a compensation increase will not be forthcoming in an extended contract, haste has not been a concern,” Martin stated during an email exchange.
He noted that communications are ongoing between Miles’ agent, George Bass, and LSU’s legal representation over mostly “technical issues.”
Miles’ current deal guarantees him more than $3.75 million in annual pay, not counting bonuses.
The new contract is expected to maintain the same base pay but add expanded bonus amounts, postseason awards and other adjustments.
“I’m under my current contract. I don’t think it’s any distraction in any way,” Miles said Friday at the SEC Media Days. “They (LSU) have had it for some time, and it hasn’t been returned to us.
“I don’t think it speaks to a major issue one way or another,” he added.
Martin, on the other hand, stated that some of the delay was because Dallas-based Bass waited “quite some time” to respond to the first draft. Bass, of AAI Sports, said only, “I don’t comment on that.”
LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva and Stanley Jacobs, who chairs the athletics committee of the LSU Board of Supervisors, did not respond to interview requests.
The NCAA last week largely accepted LSU’s self-imposed penalties and placed LSU on a one-year probation period for violations primarily regarding former assistant football coach D.J. McCarthy and defensive lineman Akiem Hicks of California. Hicks was a junior-college transfer who never played a down for the team.
The violations mostly involved housing and phone contact issues.
LSU and Miles first announced the deal to stay in Baton Rouge in January, after Miles met with officials from the University of Michigan - his alma mater - about their head coaching vacancy at the time.
LSU is coming off an 11-2 season and a convincing Cotton Bowl Classic win over Texas A&M.
At the time, LSU officials said the LSU Board would approve the contract in March.
In February, LSU spokesman Herb Vincent said it would be delayed until April.
And in April, Martin said he expected it would be done in May.
Miles’ current contract was approved in April 2008, more than three months after winning the BCS national championship.
Since January, the LSU Board has approved or amended new deals for Alleva; new women’s basketball coach Nikki Caldwell; LSU football assistant coaches Steve Kragthorpe, Brick Haley, Greg Studrawa, Steve Ensminger; strength and conditioning coordinator Tommy Moffitt; and co-swimming and diving coaches Doug Shaffer and David Geyer.
Next month, the LSU Board is expected to consider a contract extension for men’s basketball coach Trent Johnson.
Should Miles, 57, serve the length of the new contract, he would tie Bernie Moore (1935-47) for the second-longest tenure in LSU history behind only Charles McClendon (1962-79).
Scott Rabalais and Perryn Keys of The Advocate contributed to this report.