Question of the day

From former Maryland great/US Congressman Tom McMillen (h/t The Daily Fix):  “Why aren’t well-compensated coaches and others in athletic departments held accountable for the problems they leave behind?”

McMillen proposes something out of the Sarbanes-Oxley law he voted for while in Congress.

… Recently at a meeting of the Board of Regents at the University of Maryland, I suggested that it’s time to use the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 as a model for college athletics. What Sarbanes-Oxley provided for public companies is a “clawback” provision — the ability to retract compensation, even after an executive has left a company.

We’ve seen this process work. In just one instance, two former executives of UnitedHealth Group Inc., accused of compensation abuse, agreed to give back over $600 million under the clawback provisions of Sarbanes-Oxley.

Why not have athletic directors and coaches face clawbacks too? If the NCAA imposes penalties for problems that existed during a coach or director’s employment, why not require them to return some salary and bonuses to the university — even if they have moved on to another job? After all, many coaches get bonuses for good academic performance by their teams, why shouldn’t there be penalties for poor performance?

If there were significant clawback provisions in the contracts for athletic directors and coaches as I proposed to our board of regents, I guarantee they would be more vigilant about what happens on their watch. Substantial financial incentives would encourage them to insure that rules are followed, that they wouldn’t be able to afford to look the other way…

Money do talk.

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5 Comments

Filed under It's Just Bidness

5 responses to “Question of the day

  1. Macallanlover

    Great idea. Accountability is never a bad thing; one of our fundamental weaknesses in American society.

  2. TennesseeDawg

    Sounds like a good idea. Should be built into every coaches contract

  3. Wonderful-Ohio-on-the-Gulf Dog

    For clawback to work at the NCAA level, coaches and ADs and athletic departments would have to agree contractually to subject themselves to iclawback. That seems unlikely.

    The NCAA could simply mandate clawback in every contract, but this is the NCAA we’re talking about. It cannot mandate even the firing of a coach caught redhanded lying to its investigators.

    I just don’t see the NCAA taking such a step.

    State legislatures could devise a new tort and prescribe clawback as its remedy. The victim of the tort would need to be the institution, probably. But clawback would run afoul of some states’ (I’m thinking of Florida’s, especially) strict state constitutional restrictions on wage garnishment and similar debtor protection devices.

    Unless all state legislatures went along, why would, say, Alabama place itself at a coach- and AD-hiring disadvantage by unilaterally imposing clawback provisions?

    Congress could enact nationwide clawback provisions for NCAA coaches and ADs that would supersede state constitutional restrictions and avoid individual state holdouts. This seems the only plauable approach.

    Now, for the $64,000.00 question. Does college football really want Congress to get involved in its internal operations like this? What else would Congress mandate? A Congress-designed play-off system?

    Getting politicians involved puts political considerations first and problem-solving second.

    The cure seems likely much worse than the disease.

  4. Jim

    What about congress critters who run our country into financial ruin. Maybe they could give up their pensions, life time healthcare and other benefits and be placed in the same programs the ordinary citizens are forced to contribute to and participate in whether we like it or not.

  5. fuelk2

    Modeling something on the most useless legislation ever enacted – only a politician could think of that.