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October 29, 2010 5:00 PM Binghamton’s $1.2 Million Mistake

By Daniel Luzer

Oh SUNY Binghamton, this Division I sports fiasco just keeps getting more expensive, doesn’t it? According to the school yesterday:

The SUNY system, Binghamton University and former head men’s basketball coach Kevin Broadus have reached a tentative agreement to resolve all pending issues related to Broadus’ employment with the University.
In exchange for his resignation and withdrawal of all claims and potential future lawsuits, Broadus will be paid a gross sum of $1.2 million: $819,115.89 by Binghamton University as part of his employment contract agreement and $380,884.11 by SUNY as relinquishment of Broadus’ claims.

Binghamton hired Broadus, then an assistant basketball coach at Georgetown, as head coach in 2007 as part of the school’s drive to improve its prestige by creating a huge athletic program.

It didn’t work out so well. In the fall of 2009 a basketball point guard was arrested and charged with selling cocaine. A week later five more students were kicked off the team for “unspecified misconduct.” Then the athletic director resigned. On October 15 Binghamton put Broadus on indefinite leave. In December the school fired an adjunct professor after she accused the athletic department of demanding that she give passing grades to basketball players even if they didn’t attend her class. In January of this year the president of the school resigned.

But earlier this month the National Collegiate Athletic Association decided to stop investigating the school, writing that it:

Did not believe that the information developed during its preliminary inquiry supports allegations of major NCAA infractions and, absent the emergency of new information, is closing the case.

And so, despite the fact that an internal audit had found significant violations of generally accepted collegiate athletic practices and the university’s own standards, Broadus’s lawyer argued that his client hadn’t really done anything wrong and wanted his job back.

Well he’s not getting that, but $1.2 million isn’t bad. According to the school’s Interim Athletic Director, James Norris:

It was in the best interest of Mr. Broadus - and we wish him well - and in the best interests of Binghamton University to put this behind us so he can get on with his professional life and we can continue to do the educating that we are about.

The educating that the school is all about, um, now. It was precisely the school’s lack of concern with the education of its basketball players, of course, that brought about all of these problems.

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer