After attorney general ruling, UA releases Bielema's deal with Razorback Foundation

Posted: December 28, 2017 at 2:51 p.m.
Updated: December 28, 2017 at 5:56 p.m.

Bret Bielema’s time as Arkansas’ coach came to an end after a 4-8 season, including a 1-7 mark in SEC play and a 3-4 record in home games. The Razorbacks lost a school-record five games by more than 20 points.

5:45 PM. UPDATE:

The University of Arkansas, Fayetteville on Thursday evening released former football coach Bret Bielema’s agreement with the nonprofit foundation that supports university athletics.

The Razorback Foundation deal was emailed to Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reporters after Attorney General Leslie Rutledge wrote in a formal opinion that it can be released under the state's open-records law.

[DOCUMENT: Read Bielema's agreement with Razorback Foundation]

Because officials classified the document as a “personnel record,” Bielema was given time to request Rutledge’s opinion on whether it should be released. Such decisions are based on balancing an “unwarranted invasion of personal privacy” against “the public’s interest in disclosure.”

Check back with Arkansas Online for updates on this developing story and read Friday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

EARLIER:

Former University of Arkansas, Fayetteville football coach Bret Bielema’s agreement with the nonprofit foundation that supports university athletics can be released under the state’s open-records law, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said in a formal opinion Thursday.

Bielema, through his agent, sought Rutledge’s input after the university informed the fired coach it planned to release a copy of his deal with the Razorback Foundation to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in response to an Arkansas Freedom of Information Act request.

Bielema’s contract with UA referenced the agreement as a factor in determining how much the athletic program would owe him if the university fired him. Confusion about the buyout terms persisted throughout Bielema’s fifth season, which marked the fourth time in two decades the team won fewer than five games.

[DOCUMENT: Read attorney general's full opinion]

Bielema was fired at the conclusion of a 4-8 season, with three years and at least $11 million remaining on his university contract. That sum does not include bonuses and other compensation from the donor-funded Razorback Foundation, which the university has said will pay the buyout.

Because officials classified the document as a “personnel record,” Bielema was given time to request Rutledge’s opinion on whether it should be released. Such decisions are based on balancing an “unwarranted invasion of personal privacy” against “the public’s interest in disclosure.”

Check back with Arkansas Online for updates on this developing story and read Friday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.