Friday, April 1, 2011

BREAKING: AU players and AD agree on new Collective Bargaining Agreement

image On March 13, 2011, this site was the first to report that Auburn University faced a lockout and a work stoppage over their failure to reach a new collective bargaining agreement, and that the work stoppage could lead to a postponement of spring practice.

A temporary agreement had been in place that allowed only the highest paid players to work out in spring drills while representatives of the two sides attempted to work out details of a plan.

The sides met last night and after an early morning breakthrough, IBCR has learned that the two sides have agreed in principle on the terms of a new deal and the full spring practice will go on.

With the early departure of QB Cam Newton and DL Nick Fairley to the NFL Draft, the players had thought enough room had been made in the team’s salary cap for a broader, more equitable sharing of department revenues among the team. However, the athletic department has cited skyrocketing legal expenses, increased lobbying fees and an expanded street agent reimbursement fund as reasons for demanding an across-the-board decrease in player compensation, sources said.

Things changed when five other players were dismissed from the squad for assault and armed robbery. The removal of these additional players eased some of the salary pressure on the administration and made negotiations somewhat easier.

Highlights of the issues at dispute were:

  • Player demands for higher bounty payments paid for chop blocks, facemasks, late hits and unsportsmanlike conduct calls.
  • Player demands for greater access to the univeristy’s crack legal team at Lightfoot Franklin & White.
  • The AD’s proposal to reduce the cap on incoming recruit compensation to no more than $150,000; down from last year’s top payment of $180,000.
  • Another AD proposal to limit the number of trips to casinos to six per semester, down from ten the previous year.
  • The compliance staff’s proposal to cap the player iPad, smart phone, lap top and car expenses to $1,000 per month. The players had demanded an increase to $1,750.

Specific terms of the new agreement were not available at press time. However, sources close to the negotiations confirmed that agreements on each of the five major sticking points had been reached.

Calls to the Athletic Department were met with “NO COMMENT,” even after an IBCR read a list of the issues under dispute. We did not ask to speak to Coach Gene Chizik.

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