UO's Lariviere and Bellotti answer questions

University of Oregon President Richard Lariviere said today that he and outgoing Athletic Director Mike Bellotti reached a mutual agreement that Bellotti would take the ESPN job and resign as the Ducks' athletic director. Lariviere indicated that during candid discussions between the two men that it was made clear that a change in leadership at the AD would eventually happen.

Lariviere mentioned that Bellotti enjoys an iconic status in the state of Oregon and based upon the former head coach's accomplishments and agreements with previous university leadership that the amount of $2.3 million was fair compensation for leaving the position of athletic director.

Although not saying that Bellotti was fired, Lariviere made it clear that he intended to "eventually make a change in the AD anyway." When Lariviere heard that Bellotti was in negotiations with ESPN, he found the opportunity to make the change.

The Oregon President also said that the University "didn't follow acceptable business practices in the past." While Larviere did not specifically spell out what practices or policies he was referring to, clearly the issue of Bellotti operating as AD without a contract was one of them.

Lariviere also made it clear that those "unacceptable business practices" would no longer be tolerated under his command.

The amount of money, $2.3 million was based upon what would have been for a contracted three-year period and that the amount to be paid Bellotti was calculated to be the remainder of that contract period. The money will come from a specific set of donors which were given specifically for use by the Athletic Department and could not be used by the University for any other part of the university operation.

Lariviere categorized the lack of a contract for Bellotti to act as Athletic Director to be a "very odd situation," and made it clear that sort of thing would not happen again.

For Bellotti's part, he expressed that he "did resign" and that "in a perfect world" he would have done both jobs. Bellotti mentioned that initially he wanted a five-year contract. Bellotti also made it clear that he feels he has "not taken anything" that was (not) owed him.

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