Tennessee Contract Lawyer Makes Sense of Ryan Silverfield’s Contract Extension

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  2. Tennessee Contract Lawyer Makes Sense of Ryan Silverfield’s Contract Extension
ryan silverfield's contract extension

Ryan Silverfield recently entered into a new contract with the University of Memphis as the head coach of the Memphis Tigers football team. Silverfield signed the contract officially on March 27, 2024. Silverfield has been with the Memphis Tigers for nine years, and is currently entering into his fifth season as the head coach. Silverfield’s career with the Memphis Tigers has been the longest in his coaching history, indicating that he sees potential for success and growth with Memphis. Silverfield has led Memphis Tigers to thirty-one wins in just four years, second only to his predecessor Mike Norvell. While that alone is impressive, Silverfield is the only coach in Memphis Tigers history to win four bowl games in his first four seasons, a truly impressive feat—and his new contract reflects that.

What is in Ryan Silverfield’s Contract Extension?

Ryan Silverfield’s contract extension is a five-year, $12.25 million contract, with an array of opportunities for bonuses and incentives throughout, including but not limited to a $500,000 bonus if the Tigers win the national championship. The contract also provides for extension beyond five years, depending on the success of his coaching and the team in general, which ultimately means that this contract could be extended indefinitely so long as Silverfield continues his success and wishes to continue his career with the Memphis Tigers.

The new contract includes a couple of provisions that we see often in employment contracts, including a buy-out provision. In the event that Memphis decides to terminate Silverfield’s employment without legitimate cause, they will be required to buy him out of his contract by paying him sixty percent of his remaining money owed under the terms of the contract. In the event that Silverfield himself decides to end his contract early, he will be responsible for paying back a portion of his salary as well.

This kind of buy-out provision is common in employment contracts, especially when the salary of the employee is high; and when your salary is roughly 2.45 million annually like Silverfield, you can almost guarantee this kind of provision will appear in your contract. A buy-out provision protects both the employee and the employer; when an employer is paying an employee such a high salary, they want to ensure that the employee stays with them. And if the employee chooses to leave on their own, then they are ensured to receive some of that expected salary back as a type of punitive measure of breaking the contract. The other side of that same coin protects the employee, too; in the event the employer decides to break the contract without just cause, the employee is guaranteed a portion of what they would have expected to collect under the terms of the contract.

How is Just Cause Determined?

Typically, an employment contract will spell out what is just cause for termination within the terms of the contract. The grounds for cause include things like serious misconduct, such as theft, fraud, harassment, insubordination, repeated negligence, or a significant breach of company policies. However, the exact parameters may vary depending on the jurisdiction and the specific terms outlined in the employment contract. When an employee feels like their termination was not for cause detailed in their contract, they may have recourse through legal channels, such as filing a wrongful dismissal claim or seeking arbitration. In such cases, courts or arbitrators will assess whether the employer had valid reasons for termination based on the evidence presented. Sometimes, the employment contract may also provide for termination without cause, so long as there is adequate notice in advance of the termination. Sometimes in leu of advanced notice, an employer may effectively terminate the employee and continue to pay the employee for the period of notice that the contract requires.

Overall, just cause for termination serves as a balancing mechanism in the employment relationship, protecting the rights of both employers and employees. By adhering to fair and transparent practices, employers can mitigate the risk of legal disputes while fostering a positive and respectful workplace environment. Likewise, employees can feel confident that their rights are safeguarded, knowing that termination without just cause is not taken lightly.

If you entered into an employment contract and you feel you were terminated without just cause, it is important to have an employment law attorney review your contract and the events surrounding your termination to evaluate whether or not your termination complied with your contract. It could be the case that your employment contract did not require just cause for termination, or that the employer failed to comply with the provisions regarding termination with or without cause. Marc Sorin and Hunter Martin at The Crone Law Firm PLC can assist you in determining whether or not you were terminated in compliance with your contract, and whether or not you have any recourse available to you.

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