Cincinnati - At the request of Men's Basketball Coach Bob Huggins, the University of Cincinnati resumed negotiations on the terms and conditions of his employment contract on July 12, 2005. A variety of options were proposed by the university in response to requests made by the coach. As negotiations progressed, the coach expressed his inability to function under the terms of an agreement reached on May 16, 2005. The university agreed and has offered several options under which the coach could terminate his association with the university. Coach Huggins has rejected all offers made by the university.
Today, the University of Cincinnati has communicated to Coach Huggins that negotiations are at impasse, and set a deadline of 2 p.m. Wednesday, August 24, 2005 for the coach to accept one of the remaining options.
The options are:
*Accept a position outside the athletics department through March 31, 2008.
*Accept a payment of approximately $3 million to buyout the remaining term of his contract.
*If the coach rejects either of the above offers, the university will exercise its rights under the existing contract.
STATEMENT BY UC PRESIDENT NANCY L. ZIMPHER
Over the past three months, there has been a public conversation about the future at UC of Men's Basketball Coach Bob Huggins. Given the confidential nature of personnel discussions, the university has been constrained from divulging the full content of our negotiations with Coach Huggins.
It would have been inappropriate and unprofessional to do otherwise.
The recent release of confidential correspondence with Coach Huggins compels us to speak today.
Throughout our negotiations with Coach Huggins we have recognized his record of accomplishment over 16 years and have worked to accommodate his interests. Within the context of our new academic plan, UC|21: Defining the New Urban Research University, we asked Coach Huggins to join us as we raise standards at the University of Cincinnati across the board-in academics, athletics, and service. On May 16, when the university and the coach ended one round of negotiation, the coach announced that he planned to fulfill his contract. We affirmed that Coach Huggins would have the opportunity to coach for two more years. More recently, the coach has expressed his inability to work under the terms of that agreement. So we have worked to develop an equitable separation from the university for Coach Huggins.
We make no apologies for setting high standards. Our rise in standards is part of the remarkable transformation that UC has undergone in the last decade and our work to make UC one of the best universities in this country continues. This is the essence of UC|21 To reach these goals, we have set high expectations for academics and athletics. Our expectations for our athletic programs include
*We want our student to win in the classroom as well as the basketball court. Student athletes recruited by UC must expect to work diligently toward a degree. We want to count them all as alumni someday.
*Character counts. Our coaches must be exemplary role models, on the court and off.
*Our student athletes are highly visible ambassadors for the University of Cincinnati. They must be expected to treat others with respect and to recognize that they, too, are role models.
Director Goin, the Board of Trustees, and I are united in our belief that we can achieve these new expectations for our athletic programs. We will work tirelessly to build on our past accomplishments and build a reputation and a record that is worthy of the Big East, worthy of our Bearcats family, and worthy of the best urban university in the country.
STATEMENT BY BOARD OF TRUSTEES CHAIR PHILLIP R. COX
I am here on behalf of the University of Cincinnati Board of Trustees, to express our full support for the actions of the university administration in regard to the employment of Coach Bob Huggins.
Decisions on this matter by President Nancy Zimpher and Athletic Director Bob Goin have been made with the full knowledge and approval of the Board.
We supported President Zimpher's and Director Goin's offer to Coach Huggins to coach at UC for two more years. We understand that Coach Huggins has chosen not to accept that opportunity. We respect that decision and recognize the significant success he has had on the basketball court for UC.
We know that many supporters of our basketball program will be disappointed in this outcome. We ask them to understand that the overall quality of UC as an educational institution has to be our first priority.
When we recruited Dr. Nancy Zimpher as the 25th president of UC, the Board's first order of business for her was the creation of an academic master plan, a plan that would have implications for all programs on our campuses-academic and athletic. That plan, now called UC|21, is now in implementation and will help us raise UC to the ranks of the best universities in this country, an effort we owe to the entire community and region.
Fulfilling the promise of UC|21 will require a new standard of excellence in every aspect of the university. The Board of Trustees is united in its pursuit of that excellence.