Severance deal for departing Oregon AD Mike Bellotti under review | College football
Oregon Attorney General John Kroger is looking into a $2.3 million severance package for Mike Bellotti, the departing University of Oregon athletic director.
SALEM, Ore. — Oregon Attorney General John Kroger is looking into a $2.3 million severance package for Mike Bellotti, the departing University of Oregon athletic director.
Bellotti, who was the Ducks' football coach for 14 seasons, abruptly announced on March 19 that he was stepping down as Oregon's AD after less than a year on the job. He has taken a job as a college football analyst for ESPN.
Kroger spokesman Tony Green told The Associated Press that the Oregon Department of Justice is "conducting a review of the contract." He said Kroger is simply gathering information after concerns were raised by the media.
The review was first reported by The Register-Guard newspaper.
Oregon, a public university, had no signed agreement when Bellotti took over as athletic director last July. Terms were negotiated orally with then-incoming university president Richard Lariviere and were not made public, but Bellotti agreed to a pay cut to become the AD.
The $2.3 million severance agreement called for the departing AD to be paid $600,000 by May 1, with the rest in $25,000 installments. Bellotti could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday.
Bellotti had a 116-55 record as football coach and took the team to 12 bowl games. In 2001, Oregon finished 11-1 and ranked No. 2 in the nation.
Offensive coordinator Chip Kelly took over as coach when Bellotti was named AD.
Oregon has named Lorraine Davis, the university's former vice president for student affairs, as interim athletic director while the university searches for Bellotti's replacement.
Masoli practices, but won't play
EUGENE, Ore. — Quarterback Jeremiah Masoli took part in the opening day of spring practice at Oregon even though he won't play a down for the Ducks this fall after his season-long suspension.
Masoli pleaded guilty March 12 to a misdemeanor burglary charge involving a theft at a campus fraternity house in late January.
Masoli, touted as a possible Heisman candidate, is allowed to practice with the team during the suspension and he could possibly request a redshirt.
"He's just going to practice with us, but he's really not going to take a lot of reps at quarterback cause he's not going to play quarterback for us next year," Kelly said.
"He's going to help out wherever he can help out. Need somebody to hold the (tackling) dummy, need somebody to run the practice, need somebody to do different things — he understands his role on the team."
Masoli's backup last season, Nate Costa, took the initial spring snaps at quarterback. Costa played one full game last year, a 24-10 win at UCLA. Sophomore Darron Thomas will also contend for the starting job.
Running back LaMichael James was excused from the first practice for academic reasons. The sophomore, who pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor harassment charge involving a fight with his former girlfriend, is suspended for the Ducks' season opener against New Mexico.
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• USC went through new coach Lane Kiffin's first spring practice, a 2 ½-hour workout that stretched nearly to dusk. Kiffin has said he plans to run a tighter ship than his predecessor, Pete Carroll, now the Seahawks' coach. Visitors won't be allowed easy access to practice under new rules announced by the school.
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