Coach contract process flawed


The Northern Star Editorial Board believes Sean T. Frazier, Associate Vice President and Director of Athletics, should not be allowed to sign off on contract negotiations without the consent of the Board of Trustees.

This statement comes following the quiet four-year extension of football Head Coach Rod Carey’s contract, which includes a $2.4 million estimated pay over the course of the contract, according to a Nov. 1 Northern Star article. The extension and salary came in a Jan. 1 amendment Fraizer made to Carey’s contract.

NIU spokesperson Joe King said Frazier has the power to hire and fire coaches within the athletics department, including negotiating contracts, something he can do without the consent of any other individual.

“He doesn’t have to go to the Board for an assistant volleyball coach,” King said. “Now in an instance like this with a high-profile, high-salary person, he is going to keep the Board informed of how negotiations are going.”

However, there is no record or proof Frazier kept the Board informed of the negotiations.

The Northern Star Editorial Board thinks this proof should be made available to the public.

King said in any contract transaction made by NIU the terminology used is “by and between the Board of Trustees.” This states contracts go through the Board; however, that is not always the case. King said even if the Board is not involved, this phrasing is used.

The Northern Star Editorial Board believes this should not just be a phrase. The phrasing implies more parties are involved. It is misleading to imply negotiations that simply did not happen. Each contract should be negotiated through and be approved by the Board, especially if this phrasing is used.

The Northern Star Editorial Board believes Fraizer should not have the sole power to change contracts; he should be required to get the Board’s approval.

President Lisa Freeman’s contract was discussed for about week and negotiated during a public Sept. 24 Board meeting. During the process, it was decided Freeman will earn a $450,000 base salary and an additional $25,000 each year completed as president, according to a Sept. 24 Northern Star article. This totals $1.9 million over the next four years.

Carey’s contract was extended until 2022, and he is now set to make half a million dollars more than Freeman, but her contract took a week to negotiate; Carey’s did not even appear before the Board. The highest-paid position at NIU should have gone through the same contract negotiations as the highest authority position, but did not.

Any contract negotiations should be taken up to and approved by the Board.

Regardless of the size of the contract, the standard protocol should be Board-approved for every contract to allow for more input and make the proceedings fair.