ATHENS — If Damon Evans is fired by Georgia, the decision might come at a steep cost to the school, according to Evans’ new contract that went into effect Thursday.
President Michael Adams has the authority to fire Evans without cause at any time, but that action could potentially cost the university $2.95 million if Evans remained unemployed until 2015.
Evans did not resign in the wake of Wednesday night’s DUI arrest and subsequent embarrassing details that came out in the police report. Instead, Evans said he hoped to keep his job, forcing Adams to make a complicated decision.
The DUI charges might not be legally considered “with cause,” depending on a judge’s interpretation of the contract.
There are numerous grounds for termination written in the contract, but none specifically address DUI arrests.
Section 5.01 (b) (3) of the contract states that Evans can be terminated for “conviction of a felony or a crime of moral turpitude.” If Evans is convicted of the DUI charges, that alone would not be cause for termination since a DUI under Georgia law is not considered a felony crime.
Adams was away on vacation when Evans was arrested, and he has provided only a written statement thus far. While offering words of support for his athletic director, Adams also stated he “will reserve further action pending a full review by staff and legal counsel.”
The Telegraph obtained Evans’ new contract through a Freedom of Information Act request. The contract, signed April 14, details compensation for Evans and also provides Adams’ options in the event he has to discipline or terminate the AD.
“I think (Adams) is going to let things play out,” Evans said at a news conference Thursday. “He has to do what is in the best interest of this institution. He told me that. I told him I agreed with him from that standpoint. He knows I made a mistake, a serious mistake. He understands that. I believe that Dr. Adams wants to work through that with me but at the same time I think it depends on how things play out. If I bring too much shame and embarrassment to this institution, there’s no telling what may happen.”
According to section 4.01 of the contract, it’s “anticipated” that Evans will make $550,000 this fiscal year, $570,000 next fiscal year, $590,000 in 2013, $610,000 in 2014 and $630,000 in the final year of the contract.
If Adams elects to end the contract according to section 5.01 (c), “without cause and for its convenience prior to its expiration,” Evans would be entitled to “liquidated damages” as laid out in section 5.01 (d), which include the “base salary for the remainder of the term of the Agreement then in effect.” The payments from the University to Evans would be made monthly.
Section 5.01 (d) states, “the parties further agree that the payment of such liquidated damages ... shall constitute adequate and reasonable compensation to (Evans) for the damages and injuries suffered by (Evans) because of such termination by the Association.”
The contract requires that if Evans is terminated without cause he must “make reasonable and diligent efforts to obtain equivalent employment.” Once Evans gets a new job the university’s “obligation to pay the full amount liquidated damages ... shall be reduced by the amount of the minimum guaranteed annual salary” of the new job.