UConn may be in trouble over ethics violations with Randy Edsall’s hiring. The school is in a battle with Connecticut’s Office of State Ethics about whether Edsall can hire his son Corey as a $95,000 per year assistant.
Connecticut’s Code of Ethics prevents state employees from using their position to benefit family members. UConn employed a workaround to get around that rule.
UConn argued that the Code of Ethics did not apply to Edsall during his contract negotiations as he was not yet a state employee. They also worked up a conflict of interest disclosure where athletic department COO Beth Goetz would manage Corey.
UConn had consulted informally with the OSE before the hire was made. They were informed the arrangement was “technically permissible.” Though the OSE is revisiting it for an official ruling.
In a statement, UConn wrote, “When UConn was negotiating [Randy Edsall’s] contract, university ethics staff consulted with the Office of State Ethics on Coach Edsall’s behalf and sought an informal opinion regarding the potential hiring of the coach’s son. … In keeping with standard practice, the university presented this as a hypothetical scenario that mirrored the facts: specifically, that the university was negotiating with a candidate as that part of the negotiations included a contractual provision regarding the potential future employment at UConn of a member of the candidate’s family, who would work in the same department as the candidate.”
Coaches hiring their sons/brothers is quite common in college football. Shane Beamer and Jay Paterno were longtime assistants under their fathers. Jay Harbaugh is running backs coach at Michigan. Kirk Ferentz has both his son Brian (offensive coordinator) and son-in-law Tyler Barnes (director of recruiting) on staff.
State ethics laws weren’t really formed with modern college football coaching in mind. It would have been hard to envision someone earning 58 times the governor’s salary to orchestrate an extracurricular activity at the state college. Hiring relatives to lucrative positions, like obtaining the interest-free loans or private plane hours included in many coaches’ contracts, would be frowned upon elsewhere on the state payroll.