On Monday I posted an audio clip from Willie Fritz’s last meeting with the players at Georgia Southern. This kicked off a firestorm of controversy across Eagle Nation and beyond. The Savannah Morning News responded to it. WJCL, the local ABC affiliate, ran a piece on it last night with an interview of Tom Kleinlein himself. Heck, I even got a retweet from Barrett Sallee.
Word is the NBC affiliate, WSAV, in Savannah will do a piece on it tonight as well. Mike Anthony of the Statesboro Herald covered it too and wouldn’t even use Forgotten5.com’s name in the article. I found that amusing. Aside from maybe being a bit salty that he got scooped on a major story by some unpaid hack blogger (Hi, my name is Nick Burgess), Anthony does bring up interesting information.
The new contract Georgia Southern offered Fritz was approved by the Georgia Southern University Athletic Foundation during a Nov. 25, 2015 board meeting, according to a record of the meeting minutes provided by Kleinlein.
According to the meeting minutes, Kleinlein briefed the board on the contract specifics, which included increasing Fritz’s salary from $500,000 to $700,000 and increasing the salary pool of Fritz’s assistant coaches by $150,000.
The contract would have been for four years, commencing on July 1, 2016 and expiring on June 30, 2020. It also included an option stating if Fritz won seven games during a contract year, he would receive an additional one-year extension. In other words, if Fritz were to win seven games every year at Georgia Southern, he would always have four years remaining on his contract. Fritz’s buyout would have been $1.2 million if he was fired, and he would’ve had to pay Georgia Southern $1 million if he left.
Tom Kleinlein got approval for a 4-year, $700,000 contract extension to offer Fritz on November 25, 2015. This is the document he supposedly showed the three members of the local media yesterday in an emergency meeting triggered by the leak.
We did not receive a copy of that extension here at Forgotten5.com (ya know, the outlet that published the story). Remember, this is an athletic director that is currently being sued for contract malfeasance after all. But let’s take it at face-value to save time.
Aside from a vanguard of boosters and media members that have an interest in protecting Tom Kleinlein, most of the reaction to the piece has been positive. I was personally pleased to have several former players corroborate the audio I published yesterday.
I am not going to do much in the way of editorializing today. Eagle Nation can make up its own mind with the information that is available. Maybe Kleinlein offered that extension and Fritz turned it down and went to Tulane anyways? Tulane can far and away outspend whatever Georgia Southern can offer, especially in 2015. Was the extension offered too late? Probably, but hindsight is 20/20.
The more important part of the story is that the Georgia Southern fan base is pissed off. Don’t take it from me, go to gsufans.com or check of the Georgia Southern Football Facebook page. Not just about the audio clip, but the fact that the football team is 5-10 in its last 15 games since Tyson Summers took over.
It is pissed that the athletic department is part of a lawsuit where the school’s Board of Regents and the Georgia Southern University Athletic Foundation never signed the contracts given to Rance Gillespie and David Dean. It is pissed that the school squandered the best FBS transition in 20 years. If change does not happen soon, it won’t be anger President Jaimie Hebert faces, it will be apathy.
The last piece of information I will leave you is the copies of the contract Willie Fritz signed in 2014 and the one Tyson Summers signed and is currently working under. I think they speak for themselves.
4 years, $500K to a green Tyson Summers or ~$300K on a year to year basis for Willie Fritz? Which one would you choose?