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Alford tells UNM he doesn't plan on paying $1 million buyout

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The $1 million question surrounding the buyout of former Lobos basketball coach Steve Alford is still unanswered.

Monday afternoon Alford, for the first time, formally contacted the University of New Mexico on the matter stating “he offered to comply with the terms of his previous contract” and its $150,000 buyout and that “he believes his last day was March 30,” according to an email obtained by the Journal written by Associate University Counsel Kimberly N. Bell.

EDITOR’S NOTE: CLICK HERE to read the email Alford sent.

Alford on March 18 signed a term sheet agreeing to a 10-year contract including a $1 million buyout. That contract was to take effect April 1, two days after he announced he was resigning to take the coaching job at UCLA.

The previous contract Alford says he will abide by included a 30-day notice of termination requirement. UNM maintains that means March 30 was the day Alford gave notice and Monday, 30 days after he took the UCLA job, was his official final day of work. That would bring into play the unsigned April 1 contract and the $1 million buyout.

“Coach Alford has not made any payment toward his buyout obligation to UNM,” Bell wrote.

UNM is now considering taking the matter to arbitration to seek the full $1 million.


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Messages left with Alford and the representative who negotiated his contract with UNM were not returned Monday night.

• On a note of clarification, Alford told media in late March his previous buyout was $150,000, which has been reported in numerous media accounts. The contract stipulated the previous buyout was actually $200,000.

• Here is the April 3 Journal article with attachments to UNM’s demand letter for payment of the $1 million spelling out their side of the matter: UNM: Alford owes us $1 million

• Here is the April 18 article in which Alford thanked fans, discussed Pierre Pierce and addressed the buyout (by not commenting): UCLA ‘changed the whole landscape’

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