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Thursday, July 31, 2008
Big 12 links: Tech shelves Leach's contract talks

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Mike Leach has Texas Tech on the brink of challenging for the school's first BCS bowl. But school officials say they can't afford to negotiate a rollover on his existing five-year deal until after the regular season ends in December.

The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal reported that the upshot will mean that Leach will finish the season with with only two years remaining on his current deal.

"Let me preface this by saying we want Mike to be our coach," Tech athletic director Gerald Myers told the newspaper. "We made a decision some time back to wait 'til after the season to do his contract. I don't want anybody to read anything into that.

"We want him to be our coach. We want to be able to compensate him at the level that the market dictates. As you know, we operate on a tight budget every year, and I just felt that we would know a lot more about our budget situation in December, so we've made a decision to wait until after the season to do his contract.''

Tech officials told the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal that the school is running a deficit for the second time in the last three fiscal years, making it prudent for them to be careful financially.

But can they really afford that with Leach, whose modest contract ranks him in the middle of Big 12 coaches? Leach's salary guarantees him $1.75 million this season, $1.85 million next season and $2.15 million in 2010 and two contract-completion incentives totaling $1 million - $800,000 if his stays through 2009 and $200,000 if he remains in place through 2010.

Leach has become an almost larger-than-the-program figure for Tech football. His love of all things concerning pirates has become well known over the last few years.

A big season might provide him with the ultimate treasure chest - and the booty might be coming from another school if Tech officials aren't careful.

Shiver me timbers, enough about Leach and his contract. How about some links from around the Big 12?