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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, March 30, 2010

College: Oregon AG to review Bellotti severance

Associated Press

SALEM, Ore. Oregon Attorney General John Kroger is looking into a $2.3 million severance package for departing University of Oregon athletic director Mike Bellotti.

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.

Those terms are not being made public, but Bellotti did take a pay cut when he took the job.

The resignation agreement says the $2.3 million severance fulfills "commitments made to Bellotti at the time of his employment as intercollegiate Athletics Director." The commitments also were not disclosed.

The agreement called for Bellotti to be paid $600,000 by May 1, with the rest in $25,000 installments. It includes interest.

Bellotti could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday. His first broadcast in his new position will be the Auburn spring football game on ESPNU.

Bellotti went 116-55 as coach of the Ducks and took the team to 12 bowl games. In 2001, Oregon won 11 games, including a 38-16 victory over Colorado in the Fiesta Bowl to finish ranked No. 2.

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.