Board of Regents to vote on Petrino contract

Taylor Harrison

Of the items up for approval at the Board of Regents meeting Friday, there is one that has gained a lot of attention.

At the meeting, the board will vote on whether or not to approve Bobby Petrino’s contract. While it was approved during the board’s committee meetings last month, all items have to be brought before the full board.

The four-year contract currently offers Petrino $850,000 per year and states that he must pay $1.2 million to WKU if he leaves before his contract ends. This would make him the highest paid coach in the Sun Belt Conference.

President Gary Ransdell said there may be some discussion regarding the dollar amounts involved in the contract.

“But since the executive committee meeting action, I have not been contacted by board members who have a concern,” he said.

Patti Minter, faculty regent, said it’s difficult to know what will happen regarding the contract because she can only speak for herself. But, she said it is a major agenda item.

“It’s something that I hope the board has considered very carefully, and I can tell you that I have heard from a very large number of faculty members since the announcement in December and there are some very strong opinions out there, which I’ve been listening to very carefully,” Minter said.

Minter said that while the board will be voting on the contract as it is posted, it is possible to amend it, as the board has done with a previous contract.

“Approving it means the approval of every term that’s in that contract,” she said. “And contracts aren’t valid under Kentucky law until they are ratified by the board.”

Another item on the agenda regards land WKU owns in Elizabethtown. Bob Skipper, director of media relations, said the land was gifted to WKU and in turn, the university plans to gift it to Hardin County schools to build an early college and career center.

“And then, we’ll be a partner in the center,” Skipper said.

Ransdell said the center will provide additional space to offer dual-enrollment programs for Hardin County high school students, as well as upper-division degrees and courses.

“The board action is to approve the gifting — the transfer of a deed for 20 acres of property from WKU to Hardin County schools to build this building,” Ransdell said.

Minter said another significant item up for approval is an amendment to an intellectual property policy, which she said deals with a lot of issues that university faculty members deal with and hasn’t been amended since 2003.

Other action items for the meeting include approval of a floristry undergraduate minor and budget and finance items.