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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, November 27, 2008

No settlement on Jones' dispute with UH

By Ferd Lewis
Advertiser Staff Writer

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

June Jones

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The University of Hawai'i's dispute with former football coach June Jones over his departure could be headed to its first anniversary without an announced settlement.

Jones announced his exit for Southern Methodist on Jan. 7, six days after the Warriors' Sugar Bowl loss to Georgia, and the school has been seeking payment for what it maintains was an early departure under terms of the contract.

Friday, the UH Board of Regents was updated for the second time on what spokeswoman Carolyn Tanaka said was the "status of the mediation" between the parties. "They did not take action," Tanaka said.

Any settlement would have to be approved by the Board of Regents, whose next scheduled meeting is Jan. 9, 2009.

The Advertiser reported in August that an agreement in principle had been reached for Jones to pay UH $200,000 with several procedural issues remaining to be ironed out.

Speculation has been that Jones wanted the money to be earmarked for the athletic department or the football program.

UH has yet to confirm any agreement, saying only, "When there is a final agreement in place, we will make all the details of the agreement available."

UH had been seeking $400,008 from Jones the half of his $800,016 annual salary to be underwritten by UH and the amount specified in a clause in his last UH contract signed in 2003.

The contract provided for damages, "if he terminates this agreement prior to June 30, 2008."

Jones' contract specified payment was to be made within 60 days of departure, meaning it would have been due March 7.

Jones and his representatives have contended that former athletic director Herman Frazier agreed to drop the departure restriction if Jones fulfilled at least the first two years of the deal. Moreover, they claim to have e-mails on that point.

UH has said the contract could only be amended in writing by agreement of both parties.

Frazier was terminated the day after Jones announced he was leaving for SMU.

After several rounds of fruitless negotiations, Jones' contract issue went to pre-mediation in May and the parties have been involved in mediation off and on since June 9, UH officials said.

The contract says mediation and arbitration fees will be shared and each party is responsible for their own attorney fees.

Reach Ferd Lewis at flewis@honoluluadvertiser.com.