U of M prof: spending $2.5 million to change coaches is not responsible


University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler has been working overtime to reassure regents, lawmakers, and the public that the school is doing all it can to keep administrative costs under control.

That's one reason news that the athletic department is spending $2.5 million to buy out the contract of men's basketball coach Tubby Smith did not sit well with at least one faculty member.

Former U of M President Robert Bruininks was criticized for approving expensive separation agreements with administrators.

The Star Tribune reports that when the expense of replacing Smith and his staff of assistants is factored in, the total cost of the buyout could be $6 million.

Bringing in a new face to coach the basketball team could have some financial benefits for the athletic department, though. The U of M is working to raise money to build a new practice facility and perhaps make some upgrades to Williams Arena. The enthusiasm and optimism a new coach will bring could boost donations to those fundraising projects.

As the Pioneer Press reports, Athletic Director Norwood Teague hopes fans will look at the move as an investment rather than an expenditure.

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