Mike Bellotti, who was given a $3 million severance when he quit as Oregon athletic director after nine months, initially asked the university for $7 million, a source told the Oregonian.
The request came when Bellotti told Oregon president Richard Lariviere that ESPN wanted to hire him as an analyst, a job he eventually accepted.
"That's when he told me that we owed him a great deal of money as a result of his employment relationship," Lariviere testified before the House Committee on Education. "A very great deal of money. A surprising amount of money.
"I, of course, immediately asked the general counsel what his contract called for. That's when I discovered there was no contract."
Bellotti was working under a handshake deal, and Lariviere initially told Bellotti that because no written contract existed for him, the university would have no further obligation once he left for ESPN.
"That's when he revealed to me this even further surprise fact, that he had for a number of years during his tenure at the university worked for long periods of time without a written contract, or with a contract whose provisions had expired ...," Lariviere said.
"So now the legal landscape shifted from one of great advantage to the university to one in which Mr. Bellotti had a reasonable assumption that the pattern of the previous 20 years of employment was continuing. And it changed everything."
Bellotti believed he had a five-year rollover contract, similar to the one he had as football coach. University officials determined that a three-year deal was the longest he could have received without approval and settled on the $3 million severance, a decision that has angered many Oregonians.
Bellotti did not return messages left for him.
Thanks to Image of Sport.