Written By: Daniel B. Fitzgerald, Esq.
Brody Wilkinson PC
In the wake of Charles Robinson’s report for Yahoo! Sports alleging widespread violations of NCAA rules by the University of Miami (“Miami”), an interesting side note came to light regarding Miami’s lack of candor with new head football coach Al Golden.
During the interview process with Golden, a rising star in the coaching ranks, Miami was reportedly aware of former booster Nevin Shapiro’s allegations that he provided millions of dollars in impermissible benefits to at least 72 athletes from 2002 through 2010. However, Miami never informed Golden of the brewing scandal.
Last month, Golden reportedly addressed the topic, stating that Miami had a responsibility to inform him of the potential scandal “[i]f they knew it was percolating.” In fact, Miami may have had a legal dutyto inform Golden of the allegations concerning the football program based upon the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, which is implied in all contracts. Nevertheless, Golden stated that he is happy to be in Miami and appears, at least publicly, willing to ride out the storm.
College coaches should take note of Golden’s predicament and consider the followingpoints when negotiating a new coaching contract:
For coaches who are under contract when a scandal involving a previous regime is exposed, such as Golden, they should seek contractual concessions from the university, including the following:
College coacheswould be wise to consider Golden’s situation when entering into a new contract and ensure that the contract includes provisions to protect the coach should unforeseen circumstancesarise.As for Golden, we may never learn the details of his contract, as Miami is a private university. However, coaches in the same position as Golden should seek to revisit their contract to protect themselves from the consequences of violations committed during a previous administration.
DANIEL B. FITZGERALD is an associate at Brody Wilkinson PC in Southport, Connecticut and publisher of the blog Connecticut Sports Law (www.ctsportslaw.com). He can be reached at email@example.com.