The University of Missouri added new language to its employment contract with new football coach Barry Odom that it did not include in the contract of former coach Gary Pinkel.
Beat reporter Dave Matter of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch discovered the changes aimed at “fair, safe and responsible treatment of student athletes” when he asked for the coach’s contract through an open records request. Here are the most significant changes highlighted by Matter from a section of the contract called “Conduct of the Football Athletic Program.”
“With the cooperation and assistance of University, the employee shall engage in (and encourage that every coach under employee supervision is engaging in) fair, safe and responsible treatment of student athletes on the football team, and avoiding behavior that could in any way jeopardize as student athletes health, safety or welfare, or that could otherwise cause harm or risk causing harm to a student athlete. The employee acknowledges that the above obligations are generally encompassed in the overall performance expected of the coach.
“If employee is found by the University, and its reasonable good faith discretion, to have clearly mistreated a student athlete engaged in significant or repetitive violations of NCAA rules and/or regulations, or to have failed to report a violation that he knew about or if he has failed to stop a violation that he knows about, he will be subject to disciplinary or corrective action pursuant to university guidelines, including suspension without pay, or termination of employment for cause with no further monetary obligation by the university.”
It’s not clear why Missouri found it necessary to make the changes, but schools often tweak the wording of their employment contracts when new coaches are hired or new contracts are agreed to.