June 13, 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 last week 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.
Hiding that goes against a basic principle of democratic responsibility. James Madison said a government without public information is “but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy, or perhaps both.”