Even if the money came from ticket sales, as the school claims, couldn't those funds have been used elsewhere at the university in order to ease the burden on taxpayers when our state is bankrupt?
Is paying three people $7 million dollars not to work an appropriate use of money at a public institution?
This kind of nonsense is going on all over the country.
From the Chicago Tribune:
...In the midst of Illinois' current economic crisis, any state school willing to dole out $7.12 million in buyouts to three coaches concurrently effectively announced its return to big-time athletics.
All together now: "I-L-L …I-O-U."
Thomas gave ex-football coach Ron Zook $2.6 million to leave. Then Thomas wrote a check for $620,000 to rid himself of women's basketball coach Jolette Law. On Friday, Thomas surprised nobody buying out Bruce Weber's deal for $3.9 million.
Weber all but assured his exit when he publicly blamed players and doubted himself. In briefly losing his composure Weber forever lost a measure of respect from players and potential recruits — a risk Thomas couldn't take.
Cry not for Weber or his fellow former Illini coaches. If you want to feel sorry for somebody, pity Thomas' gardener. Imagine the pressure of having a boss who fires people with Donald Trump-like rapidity.
When Thomas took over last August he stated goals of establishing a national profile and competing for championships. Tribune archives prove Thomas also mentioned graduating players and running a clean program, blah, blah, blah. Honestly, if those were Thomas' top priorities, Weber still would have his job.
Weber doesn't, a good man dismissed after nine clean, respectable seasons because Thomas wanted a great coach. Thomas wants Big Ten titles and Final Fours again at Illinois, and I understand why in today's NCAA climate he would feel compelled to pay whatever it takes no matter the economy.
I find such end-justifies-the-means behavior an unsettling sign of the times, but I understand it.
Not everybody does.
"Oh my gosh, that's ludicrous,'' said state Rep. Monique Davis, a Democrat representing Chicago's 27th district.
A member of the House Higher Education Committee, Davis recently introduced a bill proposing salary freezes for university administrators when their school raises tuition.
"The University of Illinois isn't acting fiscally responsible spending that kind of money on buyouts,'' Davis said. "I'm very sorry they don't understand the fiscal crisis our state is in..." FULL STORY