Jimmy’s blog: Schiano MOU invalid, according to UT bylaws

By Jimmy Hyams

The memorandum of understanding Greg Schiano signed to be Tennessee’s next football coach is invalid, based on UT’s contract policy bylaws.

Schiano and then-UT athletic director John Currie are the only ones who signed the MOU Nov. 26, according to sources.

The agreement was for six years and would have paid Schiano an average of about $4.5 million per year.

UT Chancellor Beverly Davenport, through spokesman Ryan Robinson, did not sign the MOU. But whether she signed it or not is immaterial, according to UT’s policy.

The policy said the Chancellor only has the authority to sign “delegated contracts’’ – contracts for $100,000 or less. Any contract over $100,000 is considered a non-delegated contract.

To make a non-delegated contract official, it must be signed by UT’s Chief Financial Officer, who is David L. Miller.

The Schiano MOU was not signed by UT president Dr. Joe DiPietro, sources said. His signature would have made the contract valid.

Miller signed the Dec. 7 MOU of UT’s new football coach, Jeremy Pruitt. Davenport, athletic director Phillip Fulmer and Pruitt also signed the document.

Item 28 under UT’s Contracting Authority section Delegated Contracts states:

“All non-delegated contracts must be signed by an officer of the University (as defined in the University Bylaws, Article IV, Section I). 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.’’

However, Section 23 states that while all contracts must be signed by a university officer, it does add “unless authority to sign the specific type of contract is delegated to specific campus/institute officials.’’

Currie is not named on the list of officials authorized to sign contracts on behalf of UT to make it approved.

This does not preclude Schiano from pursing legal action if he desires.

It does make you wonder if UT is on stronger legal ground based on its bylaws.

By the way, Sports Radio WNML’s Freedom of Information request Nov. 27 to see the MOU signed by Schiano and Currie has not been provided yet.

In a response from UT dated Dec. 5, the document was not provided within the allotted seven days because “the office is still in the process of retrieving, reviewing and/or redacting the requested records.’’

Considering it doesn’t take seven days to review or redact any names, the only plausible explanation is that UT doesn’t have a copy of the MOU.

The time “reasonably necessary to produce the record(s)’’ requested is Dec. 11, according to the response WNML received from UT.

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