I’ll start out by saying that, while I’m in law school, I am not a licensed attorney and therefore my opinions should be taken with a grain of salt.
As mentioned earlier today, UNC Asheville sent me, at my request, copies of two contracts: Janet Cone’s employment contract with UNC Asheville and the University’s contract to rent out Kimmel Arena.
We’ll start with the agreement between UNC Asheville and the Asheville Buncombe Regional Sports Commission (ABRSC), the other party mentioned in the contract.
I. The Parties
Some of you may have done a double take when you saw the second party mentioned here. It turns out that, based on this contract, UNC Asheville does not have an agreement with the Southern Conference, but with the booster group headed by Janet Cone that brought the SoCon tournament to Asheville. This actaully makes sense: the SoCon contracts with the commission, who then contacts seperately with the City of Asheville and UNC Asheville to provide venue space.
II. The Agreeement: what does the University give ABRSC?
Under the contract, the University gives ABRSC the right to use Kimmel Arena on the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd of March. However, this right is limited by both time (7 a.m. – 7 p.m. on the 1st, 7a.m. – 6:30 p.m. on the 2nd, and 7 a.m. -11p.m. on the 3rd) and circumstances – to allow UNC Asheville the right to use Kimmel for games on Thursday and Friday.
The most logical explanation to the questions arising in your heads right now – why on earth they grant an exception for the semifinal games and not the final game – is that this contract was written up after the University agreed with the Big South to waive the right to host the final game, and this contract simply formalizes that agreement. I’d be interested to know, however, whether the contract between ABRSC and the Southern Conference contains similar language.
III. What does the University get?
The short answer: Money.
The long answer: The university will receive money from the event derived from three sources: a usage fee, reimbursement for operating expenses, and concessions. Two of these source – the user fee and the reimbursement for operating expenses – will be paid by ABRSC to the University in the form of a check, with 50% being paid up front. So how much are we talking here? The gauranteed user fee paid to UNC Asheville is $10,600, while estimated operating expenses are $12,604. However, UNC Asheville will be recouping expenses, so the they will only walk out of the tournament with $10,600.
You read that right. $10,600.
Now, that’s not chump change. But if that’s the payout UNC Asheville is getting as a consequence of losing the right to play what would easily be the Bulldogs’ biggest game of the year at home, then it’s time to seriously consider the competency and judgment of those involved in this agreement.
I’m still processing the rest of the contract and haven’t begun looking over Janet Cone’s employment contract. However, at a glance, two other issues arise: the question of Ms. Cone’s independence in the signing of the contract with ABRSC and whether the University has the ability to fire Ms. Cone with cause.