A few days ago, we were assured by the Washington Post that Ralph Friedgen's potential buyout would be no obstacle for Maryland in getting rid of the big guy. Now Jeff Barker of the Baltimore Sun has turned that idea on its head, and reports that the Board of Regents might have a problem with that:
Two prominent officials in the state university system said Monday that the economy has placed the University of Maryland on sensitive ground as it decides whether to retain football coach Ralph Friedgen or buy out the remaining $4 million of his contract while others endure budget cuts and furloughs.
"As a normal practice we don't get involved in the day-to-day," said [Tom] McMillen, a former Terrapins basketball star and NBA player. "But as a fiduciary, to take on a $4 million liability plus hiring a new coach? Given the economic times we're in, there would have to be an awfully compelling case."
Said McMillen: "We'd have to have a very serious discussion about it - either the [University of Maryland College Park] Foundation or the regents."
Well, we can rule that out, not that it was ever a possibility. The economy is awful, yes, but I still stand that not doing anything could very well do more economic damage, and a big hire would actually stimulate revenue production.
Regardless, I would've been shocked if this money came publicly. They're going to have to be coming from some big level donors, in all likelihood. Some of it may come from public funds, but the majority has to be boosters (or that's what logic says, at least - never rule anything out with Debbie Yow).
Barker addressed that as well earlier, saying that "a half-dozen" boosters - he doesn't say of what level - had no knowledge of raising funds to buyout Fridge. That's not conclusive - six guys who could be low-level or mid-level may not know everything. I don't think they'd be that public with it, either; if they're getting the dough, it's probably from a couple of top-level donors.
There's still a lot of smoke out there on this one, though. We'll probably know what's happening within two weeks.