Greg Schiano’s contract with the University of Tennessee was to be for six years and more than $27 million, according to the terms of the deal laid out in the Memorandum of Understanding signed by Schiano and then-UT athletic director John Currie. The MOU, which can be read below, was released in response to a public records request on Monday.
The decision to hire Schiano—and the two sides could very well soon be arguing in court if it indeed was legally a “hiring” before it fell apart—was a disaster almost immediately. Soon after word leaked that the Volunteers were going for Schiano, the defensive coordinator at Ohio State, a mass of fans and boosters protested because of Schiano’s potential role in the child-abuse scandal at Penn State, where he was an assistant in the early ‘90s. By the end of the day, when Schiano was supposed to have been formally introduced, Tennessee bailed.
At issue, if Schiano decides to sue, is whether the MOU represents a binding contract, and if Schiano would then be entitled to the 75 percent of the contract, or more than $20 million, that it awards him if he was indeed hired and then fired without cause.
The MOU was signed by Currie and e-signed by Schiano, who was scheduled to fly to Knoxville that night. But there are spaces for the signatures of UT Chancellor Beverly Davenport and CFO David Miller, and those are blank. In a statement yesterday, Tennessee made the case that its bylaws and contract policy make the MOU invalid.
Because the MOU is considered a non-delegated contract, it required Miller’s signature to become a binding agreement, according to UT’s contract policy.
“That document was never signed by The University of Tennessee’s Chief Financial Officer, whose signature would have been required to make it legally binding on the University,” Tom Satkowiak, spokesman for the UT athletic department, wrote in an email releasing the MOU.
UT’s contract policy states that “all non-delegated contracts must be signed by an officer of the University.” Currie was not considered an officer of the university, as defined by the university’s bylaws.
Furthermore, the policy states that “chancellors are only authorized to sign non-delegated contracts related to their campus/institute, and the Chief Financial Officer must also be a signatory on any non-delegated contract signed by a Chancellor.”
Five days after the Schiano mess, Currie was replaced as AD by Phillip Fulmer, and Alabama defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt was later tapped to be head coach.
Here’s the full MOU: