UW Board of Regents, meeting in closed session, helps choose new Wisconsin football coach
The high stakes world of major college football is on display again at UW-Madison.
For the second time in two months, the Badgers announced Sunday evening that University of Cincinnati coach Luke Fickell was hired as Wisconsin's new head football coach.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that Fickell might be paid as much as six million dollars a year. The UW Board of Regents held a special meeting Sunday afternoon to discuss the coaching situation, but chose to do so out of public view.
Here's Regents President Karen Walsh during the Board's very brief open session:
"OK, may I have a motion to move into closed session to consider an employment agreement and additional compensation agreement for a UW-Madison head football coach, as permitted by s.19.85(1)(c) and (e) of the Wisconsin statutes?" Walsh asked.
All Regents on the Zoom call agreed to go into closed session and media and other observers were then disconnected.
The hiring of Fickell is controversial, as he replaces Interim Coach Jim Leonhard, who took over for the fired Paul Chryst at midseason. According to comments Sunday night on social media, some Badgers players and fans wanted Leonhard to get the permanent job. But other fans said Leonard was no better than Chryst. UW-Madison Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin calls Fickell "a transformative hire who shares our values."
Chryst recently agreed to an $11 million buyout of his contract, with funds coming from donors.
Revenue from a successful football program can fund other sports at a university, and convince excited alumni to open their wallets. A struggling football team often means less cash coming in.
Despite this year's coaching controversies, the Badgers finished their regular season at 6-6, and are headed to a less-publicized bowl game.
CBS.com projects Bucky will wind up at the Bad Boy Mowers Pinstripe Bowl in New York City.