Christmas Eve, the Miami Herald reported that “the next head coach at FIU will be Butch Davis.”
A short time later, FIU athletic director Pete Garcia, who played Alfred to Davis’ Bruce Wayne during their time with the Cleveland Browns last decade, quickly and vehemently shot down the story, labeling it “totally false.”
According to Alex Marvez of FOXSports.com, FIU is indeed “set to sign Davis to a multiyear contract averaging roughly $500,000 a season.” The holdup? Davis’ previous employer.
Davis was fired by the Tar Heels a month before the start of the 2011 season in the midst of a scandal involving impermissible benefits to football players as well as academic improprieties. As part of his “severance package,” Davis is still owed $1.77 million from the university as part of the buyout written into his contract, with $590,000 payable every Jan. 15 from 2013 through 2015.
Simply put, as Marvez writes, “UNC doesn’t want to pay the money if Davis accepts another coaching position.” Normally there are offsets written into a head coach’s contract, with any buyout number lowered — or “offset” — by the amount of money he makes at his next coaching job. The specific language written into Davis UNC contract and how it deals with future coaching employment offsetting any outstanding buyout dollars is unknown.
Marvez reports that Davis found himself in a similar position earlier this year when Greg Schiano was interested in putting him on his Tampa Bay Buccaneers coaching staff. Davis and the Bucs got around that contractual stumbling block by giving the 61-year-old “the title ‘Special Assistant to the Head Coach’ so he wouldn’t forfeit money owed by North Carolina by accepting a traditional staff position.”
Obviously, that won’t be an option in this situation, and how soon Davis, FIU and UNC can get past this contractual obstacle remains the great unknown.
After firing Mario Cristobal in early December, FIU remains the lone FBS school without a head coach.
Florida Atlantic will go through spring practice without their starting quarterback this year.
Head coach Lane Kiffin told reporters after practice on Wednesday that former Oklahoma transfer Chris Robison was suspended all of spring for an “internal matter” and would not be with the team as a result.
“We don’t really discuss details on them, but it is what it is,” Kiffin said, according to the Palm Beach Post. “We’re always trying to help kids grow and mature and hold kids to a high standard.”
This isn’t the first issue for the former four-star recruit. He was dismissed by the Sooners after a violation of team rules — four months after he was arrested for public intoxication. Then Kiffin slapped Robison with a day-to-day suspension last spring after the quarterback violated team rules with the Owls following his transfer in.
The loss of the team’s starting quarterback is quite notable given that Robison threw for 2,540 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2018 on his way to being named co-CUSA freshman of the year. His absence leaves FAU with just one scholarship quarterback available this spring as Indiana transfer Nick Tronti and redshirt freshman Cordel Littlejohn battle for reps.
Sorting out the depth chart for spring football is suddenly on the back-burner in Berkeley this month.
On Wednesday, a former sports medicine intern at California published a Facebook post that detailed several allegations of sexual harassment against the football program, including current and former players and coaches.
“We are aware of the very disturbing public allegations made on social media,” a statement from the school to ESPN read. “Allegations of sexual violence and sexual harassment by campus employees are confidential unless officials determine policy is violated, and disciplinary action has been decided.”
The woman, Paige Cornelius, said that she had withdrawn from Cal in order to seek counseling therapy as a result of the alleged incidents. One such allegation leveled against the program was against a coach she said is still employed by the university, saying he invited her to a nearby pool and commenting on how she would look in a bikini. Another involved an unsolicited kiss from another staffer and comments from football players as well.
Speaking to ESPN, Cornelius said that she had tried to detail her allegations with athletic director Jim Knowlton and football coach Justin Wilcox but “didn’t receive a response,” prompting her to go public on social media and to other outlets.
Needless to say this isn’t the kind of headline that you want to have during a fairly big offseason for the program as the #MeToo movement hits the Pac-12 program.
adidas wants more MACtion.
In a spring letter to supporters this week, Northern Illinois athletic director Sean Frazier confirmed a little bit of news that the program had extended their apparel deal with the German sportswear company for seven more years.
“Speaking of gear, I am excited to announce that we have extended our existing relationship with adidas for the next seven years,” Frazier wrote. “Look for more details on this soon!”
It’s a busy spring for the Huskies, who are coming off a MAC title in 2018 but will be seeing plenty of changes outside of their apparel deals with a new head coach in alum Thomas Hammock.
While the school re-upping with the three stripes is unlikely to be the sort of lucrative deal worth nine figures that some of their Power Five brethren have gotten, every little bit of extra money at a program like NIU counts and they will likely be able to plow that right back into the football program among other things.
We’ll have to see just how lucrative the deal is in the end but more money and more stability is a nice bit of business to take care of as spring football winds down in DeKalb.
They say it just means more in the SEC and most can agree that it is certainly the case in Louisiana, where LSU football is a way of life for many in the state. It’s also a place where politics and sports find themselves in the same story more often than you would think.
Case in point came this week where Gov. John Bel Edwards called Tigers head coach Ed Orgeron’s new $4 million a year contract a “bargain” for the school on his regular call-in radio show.
“It’s the way things are… and quite frankly, there are other schools, in the Southeastern Conference especially, that pay more,” Edwards said, according to the Baton Rouge Advocate. “His enthusiasm for all things LSU is apparent and it’s also contagious.”
The governor, who is up for reelection in the state this year, also stuck to sports just a bit longer. The Tigers athletic department may have things going in the right direction on the football field but athletic director Joe Alleva is no fan favorite for the way he ousted Les Miles a few years ago to hire Orgeron and has seen his basketball coach caught up in the FBI wiretap scandal that has swept up college basketball.
Despite being embattled and hearing calls for Alleva to be let go, Edwards declined to go down that road as well in saying he was not in favor of a change in LSU leadership.
All politics is local after all and in the state of Louisiana, LSU football — and the athletic department in general — are certainly a subject worth commenting on for those in charge.