For some reason, Bert doesn’t want folks to know what this kind of year is worth when you get fired:
Bret Bielema’s time as Arkansas’ coach came to an end after a 4-8 season, including a 1-7 mark in SEC play and a 3-4 record in home games. The Razorbacks lost a school-record five games by more than 20 points.
It sounds like things are still unresolved (“As of Wednesday, Bielema and the Razorback Foundation continued to negotiate a release agreement that would finalize several unresolved issues, including his buyout amount, officials said.”), so maybe this is simply the case where everyone involved is afraid of the public outcry before a final deal is negotiated.
Or maybe the arrangement is so complicated, nobody can figure out what the hell is going on.
Bielema’s deal with the foundation, called a “personal services and guaranty agreement,” was referred to in the section of his university employment contract that explained what the athletic program would owe him if it fired him.
His amended employment contract with the university includes a chart listing buyout amounts, which appears alongside language saying the chart’s numbers are only part of a formula to determine the actual severance pay. It also says the buyout is dependent upon his Razorback Foundation agreement and any amendments to it.
The agreement set Bielema’s buyout at more than $11 million, according to a source close to the program. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in October reported the buyout as $5.9 million, based on a legal analysis of Bielema’s contract with the university.
UA is one of six public universities under the University of Arkansas System umbrella. The UA campus, the system’s largest, is in Fayetteville, while the system’s administrative offices are in Little Rock.
The system also includes an Office of General Counsel, led by a head attorney in Little Rock. The office has other associate general counsels who are spread out among the system’s campuses.
The Democrat-Gazette on Dec. 6 filed an open-records request with the university seeking the agreement, but the document was found within the system’s records, Rushing said. A UA System spokesman said Wednesday night that the record was found in the Office of General Counsel.
The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette previously requested “controlling documents related to a buyout” from the university and the Razorback Foundation on Oct. 13 and from the system on Oct. 19. The foundation ignored the request, and the university and the system did not provide it.
Asked why UA did not have a copy of the document if it is considered a personnel record, Rushing said an employee’s right to an attorney general review includes “other records pertaining to personnel,” not just records in someone’s personnel file.
What is it about treating coaches’ contracts like they’re state secrets, anyway?