Retirement marks end of era, poses significant challenges for successor

first_imgMany with their ear to the USC administration have been speculating for a few years now that President Steven B. Sample would be stepping down, but Monday’s announcement that he will be retiring in August was a bombshell nonetheless.Sample’s retirement will mark the end of an era in which USC has evolved into a leading research university, and raises serious questions about the university’s future — chief among them whether Sample’s successor can maintain the level of success he established in his time as president.Words of wisdom · President Steven B. Sample has taught a highly selective leadership course with management expert Warren Bemis. – Photo courtesy of USCOver the last two decades, Sample has had awide-ranging effect on the university. He has catapulted its academic standards, expanded its outreach into the community and made it a destination for students in dozens of states and dozens of countries.And Sample’s prolific fundraising efforts have enabled the significant capital improvements that give USC’s campus a vastly different face from that of 20 years ago.The impact of many of Sample’s accomplishments may not be clear for years. But after nearly two decades, his influence is felt in nearly every aspect of university life, and his retirement will leave a gaping hole in the president’s office.Sample’s announcement was hardly shocking. His Parkinson’s disease has grown worse in recent years; at one event in Washington, DC last spring, the president’s hand shook violently at times, although his voice remained sturdy during a speech to alumni. The university also announced that Sample would not be teaching his popular leadership class this year, claiming it was retooling the curriculum.Sample said the disease was not a major factor in his decision to step down from his post, according to the Los Angeles Times. Instead, he said, he wanted to step down while he was ahead.Whatever the reason, replacing a president like Sample will be no small task for the university. The Board of Trustees will likely approach leading university figures across the country and even look internationally in its effort to find a successor by May.But there are signs that USC may be looking within its own ranks. Although it is uncommon for major schools to promote a president from within, recent signs have pointed to Executive Vice President and Provost C.L. Max Nikias as a likely option.Earlier this year, the university bumped Nikias’ title from provost to executive vice president. Board of Trustees Chairman Edward P. Roski Jr. also confirmed to the Los Angeles Times that Nikias was a contender for the position.Either way, the next president will face a number of challenges in continuing the streak of success Sample established.Sample’s successor will take over at a time when the university’s finances have taken a hit. The school is still in a hiring freeze, and its endowment has lost about $1.2 billion over the last year. The financial challenges have also affected the school’s ability to offer financial aid and its ability to expand.If the USC of today looks fundamentally different than the one Sample inherited in 1991, then his successor will be facing a school that hardly resembles the USC of just five years ago.Perhaps most significantly, the next president will be taking over at a key moment in the development of the university’s Master Plan, a framework for expanding the University Park Campus over the next few decades.The proposed changes to student housing around campus, including creating 7,600 beds in the North University Park, could completely alter the look and feel of USC in the coming years and have a substantial impact on those that live in the neighborhood.Sample made cooperation with the community a key aspect of his tenure, and his successor will have to grapple with the task of balancing the school’s physical growth and the changing nature of the Figueroa Corridor with the increasingly tenuous relationship with its neighbors.As the board begins the search for a successor who can handle the complex task of managing a university with USC’s size, many are hoping Sample will continue to be a presence at the university and plan to use the rest of the year to bid farewell to the man who brought USC into the 21st century.last_img read more

Stephen Strasburg contract: How the Nationals lured the World Series MVP back to Washington

first_imgStephen Strasburg has earned north of $86 million in cash through 11 seasons with the Nationals. Under the terms of the contract the pitcher recently signed to remain in Washington for at least seven more years, he will earn another $80 million from 2027 to 2029 not for striking out batters, but simply for existing as a human being.Such a contract deferral is part of the reason Strasburg gladly re-signed with the Nationals in December after opting out of his previous Washington contract a month prior. It, of course, helps that Washington is the reigning World Series champion on the strength of its ace pitcher’s World Series MVP effort. MORE: Stars, storylines and stuff to watch in the 2020 MLB seasonWith a seven-year contract worth $245 million, Strasburg was the highest-paid pitcher ever in terms of average annual salary ($35 million) for about a day. The Yankees signed Garrit Cole to a record contract worth $36 million per year right after the Nats re-signed Strasburg, but the 32-year-old Washington pitcher is still in great shape with his deal.Hypothetically, if Strasburg were to play out the rest of his current contract with the Nationals — he has a full no-trade clause — the right-hander’s career earnings would be a few dollars shy of $351 million, and potentially more if he hits incentives. That includes the three years of deferred money he will earn even if he doesn’t touch a baseball after the 2026 season.Below are the details of the contract Strasburg signed with the Nationals shortly after he helped them win the World Series. (All contract figures courtesy of Spotrac.)Stephen Strasburg contractIn typical Nationals fashion, the team deferred $80 million of Strasburg’s $245 million contract in an effort to preserve payroll flexibility in the short term. So while his base salary is $35 million in each of the next seven years, that deferral is reflected in the actual amount of cash he will earn each season.Below is the cash flow in Strasburg’s current contract. (His 2020 figure represents his prorated salary as MLB returns to play on a condensed schedule.)YearBase/payroll salaryAdjusted salary/Yearly cash2020$35 million$8,730,1592021$35 million$23,571,4292022$35 million$23,571,4292023$35 million$23,571,4292024$35 million$23,571,4292025$35 million$23,571,4292026$35 million$23,571,429Because Strasburg’s 2020 salary has been prorated, his total contract value is now $228.95 million.Strasburg also had some deferred money on his previous contract with the Nationals, which was signed in 2016. When he opted out of that deal, he reduced the deferred money to $30 million over the next three years.Including the deferred money in Strasburg’s new contract, below is a year-by-year breakdown of his upcoming deferred contracts with Washington. (The 2029 figure includes $3.9 million of interest payout.) YearDeferred salary2020$10 million2021$10 million2022$10 million2027$26,666,6662028$26,666,6662029$30,666,642Strasburg also has multiple incentives built into his contract. Below is the extra money he can earn if he continues at his elite level of pitching.Cy Young or MVP award: $500,000 ($250,000 for 2nd, $150,000 for 3rd, $100,000 for 4th, $75,000 for 5th)World Series MVP: $250,000All-Star selection: $100,000Gold Glove: $100,000Silver Slugger: $100,000Strasburg, who is managing a 3.17 ERA and a 33.5 WAR in 239 career games (all starts), is coming off a championship year in which he threw a National League-leading 209 innings during the regular season.There’s little reason to believe he won’t be able to make up some of the lost 2020 salary by hitting at least a couple of those incentives.last_img read more