USA Today Files Lawsuit in District Court Against Nebraska Huskers

USA Today filed a lawsuit in Lancaster District Court over the denial of a public records request by the University of Nebraska Athletics Department. During the last academic year, the Nebraska Cornhuskers renegotiated existing contracts with head football coach Scott Frost and head men’s basketball coach Fred Hoiberg after several straight seasons of record-breaking performances of the wrong kind — that is, lots of losses. .

USA Today, along with a number of other media outlets, submitted public records requests to UNL Records Director Jaclyn Klintoe for information related to the details of the new contract. Nebraska denied the request, and Nebraska Attorney General Elizabeth O. Gau concluded on appeal to her office that they could be legally withheld under Nebraska public records statutes.

Long after that Dec. 13 decision by Nebraska AG regarding the Lincoln Journal Star, Gannett Satellite Information Network LLC, which publishes USA Today, on Friday filed suit in Lancaster District Court over the denial of the requests. reporter Steve Berkowitz of records related to “mutually agreed upon metrics” in the restructured contracts of the head football coach and the men’s basketball coach.

The lawsuit follows an April request from Berkowitz requesting Frost’s records and a May request from Hoiberg. In denying the request, Klintoe asserts that state law provides an exception to the disclosure of “personal information in records about public agency personnel other than salary and routine directory information.”

Attorney Michael Coyle, who is representing USA Today in the lawsuit filed today, alleges that the requested records contain information that determines the amount of Frost and Hoiberg’s salaries “and therefore falls within the meaning of ‘salary information. ‘”.

What is publicly known regarding the renegotiated contracts is that Frost’s absurdly overpaid salary based on performance was reduced by $1 million to $4 million per year in 2022 with a “minor” buyout if he is fired after the 2022 season or a chance to restore his salary to $5 million in 2023 if he meets certain “metrics.” The metrics have not been defined for the public.

By comparison, Frost is just below Minnesota’s PJ Fleck’s salary of $4.42 and Illinois’ Bret Bielema’s $4.2 million. He is ahead of Paul Chryst’s $3.98 million in Wisconsin; Greg Schiano’s $3.76 million at Rutgers; and Mike Locksley of Maryland, who earns $2.47 million a year.

Hoiberg’s salary was also reduced from $3.5 million to $3.25 million, he waived a $500,000 retention bonus, and his buyout was reduced from $15 million after the next season to $11 million. Similarly, undisclosed “metrics” for team performance were also included in this renegotiation.

Hoiberg’s new contract puts him at No. 7 in the league just behind Chris Collins of NU$3.262 million and ahead of Purdue’s Matt Painter, who brings in $3.225 million (based on reported 2021-22 salaries from the United States). which Micah Shrewsburry of Penn State was not available). Overall, Hoiberg has similarly agreed to a slight pay cut based on current performance, but at least he has one less season at Lincoln and a long and successful tenure at Iowa State over the past decade.

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