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Will Herm Edwards receive remaining $8 million of contract?

Posted at 6:06 PM, Sep 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-20 14:11:45-04

TEMPE, AZ — He was the highest-paid state employee - but Monday, for the first time in four years, Herm Edwards was no longer the head football coach for Arizona State University.

The two sides "mutually agreed" to part ways. At least, that is what the Vice President of Athletics, Ray Anderson, said at the news conference Sunday.

"We haven't advanced into all the technical, financial, legal deals [and] ramifications," said Anderson. "Herm did not resign, he was not dismissed, we agreed to a mutual relinquishment of duties. And we'll have to work through what all of that means at the end of the day, in terms of the contract and the lawyers etc. Because truthfully, those things do matter."

It matters because Edwards is under contract through 2024 and has roughly $8 million remaining on his deal.

The contract stipulates that if Edwards is fired without cause, ASU must pay out the remainder of the deal.

But if he is fired for cause, like for 'NCAA violations' then ASU does not have to pay him anything, and Edwards would owe the university $75,000.

"How much is Arizona state going to be on the hook for and is Ray Anderson intentionally muddying the definition of this dismissal in order to help out a former client?" wondered Ralph Amsden, a Publisher of ArizonaVarsity and host of the Pac-12 Apostles Podcast.

A spokesperson for ASU reached out to ABC15 Tuesday to clarify further, "When something like this happens, conditions have to be negotiated, agreed upon, approved and finalized. That takes time, it doesn’t happen immediately after the announcement."

ASU Football is currently under an NCAA investigation for alleged recruiting violations.

The NCAA has not released its findings or said anything about potential sanctions or fines, but the program is in waiting.

"If [Edwards] is found culpable then Arizona State shouldn't be on the hook for his contract because he would have been fired for cause," said Amsden. "But if you're consciously uncoupled before you're fired for cause, then what's Arizona State on the hook for?"

Many are also questioning the vague nature of ASU's Sunday press conference where Anderson said it was the "toughest day of my professional career" but declined to answer if Edwards would be paid out the remainder of his contract, as most assume.

Athletic Director Ray Anderson and Herm Edwards go way back.

Anderson, a Stanford and Harvard-educated lawyer, was Edwards' former agent when he coached in the NFL.

Anderson was also a Vice President with the NFL before taking the job at ASU in 2014 and later bringing in his old friend, Edwards.

"It seemed like just a buddy-buddy hiring, and it probably shouldn’t have happened in the first place," said Collin Sommers, a junior at ASU.

When asked Monday about the contract, Anderson repeatedly deflected and said the day was about the new coaching announcement.

Multiple Sun Devil students though, said they want answers.

"I’m a student who pays tuition here. And I don’t want to pay him to do nothing," said Elle Caliendo. "I think that they should be more honest."

"It is ASU athletics, so we will probably pay him the full - but he shouldn’t get paid the full," said Sommers. "If they are going to do anything, it should be public. And it should be known to the public. It shouldn’t just get swept under the rug."

The Arizona Board of Regents, which approves all coaching contracts, said the firing and potential severance payouts are "within the purview of the president/university."