TCPalm by Orlando Sentinel Editorial Board
June 20, 2019
Florida State hired Bobby Bowden in 1976, and his $37,500 a year salary wasn’t a secret.
A lot has changed with coaching salaries and government transparency. And not for the better, unless you’re a coach.
FSU hired Willie Taggart for $5 million a year in 2017. When he’s eventually replaced, the school will not have to divulge the football coach’s salary, or many other things. That’s because the Seminoles’ sports empire is going private, just as athletic departments at UCF and UF have done.
FSU’s school’s board of trustees voted recently to make the department a direct-support organization. It will be a private corporation, immune from most public records requests. That means more than just contract information will be off limits. Policies, business records, internal correspondence and other issues of public interest will be shielded.
We’re not saying athletic departments have things they’d like to hide, but we doubt we’ve seen the last scandal at our state’s institutes of higher football. If a player is embroiled in a sexual assault scandal (see: FSU 2013) or if a there are dozens of player arrests (see: UF under Urban Meyer), it’s in the public’s interest to have access to email chains and documents showing how those matters were handled.