MISSOULA AP) — Contracts for former University of Montana football coach Robin Pflugrad and former athletics director Jim O'Day indicate the school still owes them at least $147,000.
UM President Royce Engstrom announced last Thursday that he was not renewing the contracts of Pflugrad and O'Day and relieved them of their duties immediately.
Pflugrad's contract included a provision allowing him to be terminated without cause, meaning he could be relieved of his duties but he would still be paid for the remainder of his contract.
Pflugrad's contract runs through the end of the year and he is due $116,250, while O'Day is owed $31,057 on his contract, which ends June 30. Pflugrad's base salary is $155,000 while O'Day's salary is $124,225.
Students, faculty and alumni were frustrated when Engstrom did not state a reason for the non-renewals. However, labor law attorney Karl Englund tells the Missoulian that's probably a wise decision because Pflugrad and O'Day have a constitutional right to privacy.
If the school fired someone "for cause" they could quit paying an employee, but the reason for the firing could be challenged.
Englund said not renewing a contract is often "the most prudent thing for the employer to do. If you're fired, it's for cause. Then you're going to have a fight. Termination for cause can get litigious awfully quick. You can be in a dispute with a person for years and years and years, and they're tremendously expensive."
UM chief legal counsel David Aronofsky said Wednesday the university does not comment on personnel matters.
O'Day's contract requires that he receive written notice at least five months before its expiration if it is not going to be renewed.
Englund said UM could be required to pay O'Day for another three months or his attorney could argue that O'Day is entitled to another full year of salary because he likely didn't receive the required notice.
Aronofsky declined to comment on the notice requirement in O'Day's contract Thursday.