UNC to review practices for coaches contracts

jstancill@newsobserver.comJanuary 14, 2012 

— Former UNC-Chapel Hill Athletics Director Dick Baddour will lead a UNC system group that will study the best practices in coaches contracts, UNC system President Tom Ross announced Friday.

The panel will look at what elements should be included in contracts, including language about academic performance of team members, Ross said. That effort could result in policy recommendations to the UNC Board of Governors.

Ross said a review of contracts is in order "to be sure we're thoughtful and careful about the legal language but also to be certain that we take into account academics as well as athletics when it comes to any kind of incentives."

On Dec. 9, the North Carolina board of trustees approved a 7-year contract worth $1.7 million a year for new Tar Heels football coach Larry Fedora.

Baddour retired last fall after 15 years as North Carolina athletics director. Athletics directors and legal counsel from various campuses will join the group, Ross said, and will be appointed in the next few weeks.

The panel could make recommendations for guidelines or a template for contracts.

"It's an issue where you don't want to impede a campus' ability to be competitive in the search for a coach, but at the same time we need to be thoughtful about how we do business at our institutions," Ross said.

Last month, Ross convened athletics directors from 15 UNC campuses with intercollegiate athletics programs to discuss recommendations by a system-wide task force on sports programs and academics. The group reached consensus on issues around system oversight and monitoring, admissions processes for at-risk students, ethical standards for student-athletes and academic support staff and tutors, Ross said.

The ADs are expected to meet again in the near future to talk about compliance operations and independent reviews of compliance and athletics programs.

Ross said the group suggested the athletics directors meet regularly to share ideas, and he plans to follow through on that.

The UNC Task Force on Athletics and Academics was formed last year amid an NCAA investigation of North Carolina's football program. In August, the panel made recommendations about greater oversight by the UNC system, careful screening of tutors and better integrating athletics programs into universities academic missions.

"All coaches should be held accountable for the academic success of the student-athlete and understand that they are instrumental in the academic success of student-athletes," the report said. "Many institutions are including various measures of academic performance in coaches contracts."

Stancill: 919-829-4559

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