While holding private discussions about the new contracts of Arizona basketball coaches Adia Barnes and Tommy Lloyd, the Arizona Board of Regents voted unanimously to approve both of them Thursday during the public portion of their meeting in Flagstaff.
Barnes received a twice-reworked contract that will pay her $1 million next season and a total of $5.85 million over five seasons, putting her among the top 15 highest-paid women’s basketball coaches nationally, while Lloyd will receive a guaranteed deal worth $2.9 million next season, including $2.5 million from UA and another $200,000 each from Nike and IMG.
Lloyd’s five-year package, which includes $100,000 annual escalators, will pay him the same that former Arizona coach Sean Miller was scheduled to receive in 2021-22 before he was fired in April.
Appearing virtually at the hybrid meeting to address the contract proposals, UA athletic director Dave Heeke said Barnes has “really turned (UA women’s basketball) into an elite-level program,” while detailing Lloyd’s “impressive” background over 20 years as an assistant coach for perennial basketball power Gonzaga.
“He’s someone who we’re very proud to take over a world-class gold-star program, which is Arizona basketball, and continue the tradition of excellence within the program, emphasizing the positive culture for our student-athletes, our fans and our staff,” Heeke said. Lloyd has “great knowledge and is an incredible coach and is the right person to take over this position moving forward.”
While the contracts for both coaches are for five years, the maximum allowed under Regent guidelines, Lloyd’s contract has language that could extend his up to two additional years if certain NCAA sanctions are handed down.
UA’s infractions case is now in the Independent Accountability Resolution Process along with cases from five other schools and there is no public timeline on when it could be resolved.
However, multiple efforts by the Star asking UA officials and Regents to clarify the terms of extending Lloyd’s contracts have been unsuccessful.
In the offer letter released at Lloyd’s introductory news conference on April 15, UA said his contract would be extended by a year if any of three scenarios were reached as a result of the NCAA and/or IARP’s decision: A postseason ban, the loss or two or more scholarships or “any other material restriction on recruiting visits or recruiting days.” It also said Lloyd would receive two years extra if any of the three scenarios were handed down for two or more years.
However, in the proposal sent to the Regents, UA said Lloyd would receive a one-year extension only if all the restrictions were handed down. But the school also said he would receive a second year if any restriction was imposed for two or more years.
It’s also unclear whether a postseason ban refers to an extra ban on top of the one UA self-imposed in 2020-21. While that self-imposed ban was not ordered by the NCAA, it is possible the NCAA might later “accept” it and make it part of their formal sanctions.
UA’s proposed contract for Barnes was posted last week while details of Lloyd’s package were announced upon his introductory news conference on April 15.
There was no public discussion about either contract from the Regents, other than a compliment from finance committee chair Karrin Taylor Robson to Heeke and UA president Robert Robbins for moving to keep Barnes.
In terms agreed to before UA’s run to the 2021 NCAA championship game, the Regents in April approved a five-year deal worth $3.35 million for Barnes. With Barnes’ market value suddenly much higher after the tournament, the school announced on May 5 another 75% raise for a total of $5.85 million over the next five seasons.
“What she has done for this program in such a short period of time is really remarkable,” Taylor Robson said to Heeke and Robbins, “and so your efforts to keep her happily employed at the University of Arizona is pretty important to all of us, so thank you.”
In exchange for the extra $2.5 million total over the next five years, Barnes is also being more firmly tether to the school.
Barnes will now have to pay $3 million if she leaves UA before the end of the 2022-23 contract year, and $700,000 if she leaves in 2023-24. She will owe UA $300,000 if she leaves in 2024-25 but nothing if she leaves in 2025-26.
Those new terms were what UA called a “correlated modification” of her buyout, which had been $1 million if she left in 2021-22, $700,000 if she left in 2022-23 and $300,000 if she left in 2023-24.
During their schedule private executive sessions, the Regents were also scheduled to hold “legal advice and discussion regarding UA athletics and the NCAA investigation,” which the Regents have held regularly since the federal investigation into college basketball became public in September 2017.