28.6.17

ARE ADMINISTRATORS AS IMPORTANT AS COACHES?

The severance package for academic administrators, particularly those who may not enjoy the protections of tenure in a department, might serve as a useful insurance against uncertain future earnings.  So too, has it been, for the athletic coaches, who also serve at will, and who might at any time find themselves out.  (Never mind that in both cohorts, there's enough of an old-boy, well in administration, old-boy might not be inclusive enough, network that head coaches or provosts usually land an assistant coach or associate dean gig somewhere else, and pretty fast.)

But at Northern Illinois University, the DeKalb County Board sees the severance package for soon-departed president Doug Baker as a misappropriation of state property.
DeKalb County Board member Misty Haji-Sheikh has filed a lawsuit against Northern Illinois University's Board of Trustees, with the intent of voiding the severance agreement that would pay departing President Doug Baker about $600,000.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in DeKalb County Court, says the board violated the Illinois Open Meetings Act by failing to post an agenda that adequately described the item "Presidential Employment (review and approval)" during its June 15 meeting.
That's carrying process worship a bit far, although you'd think that with the resignation already public knowledge, the board might have seen fit to include that to the advance agenda, rather than bury it in "new business" and figure the interested parties would show up.

That, however, is not the reason I asked that question.  Nearly a quarter century ago, a rainmaker in the employ of the University of Wisconsin athletics office came up with the money to encourage underachieving football coach Don Morton to step out of line and disappear.  It didn't hurt that his successor was Barry Alvarez.  "The easiest money I ever raised came for the buyout of Don Morton and [then athletic director] Ade Sponberg."  Rick Telander, From Red Ink to Roses, page 126.  The rainmaker simply called in some favors, you know, of the form "No money until ... goes!"  I wonder if there's anyone in fundraising for Northern Illinois maintaining such a list.

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