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Tucson Councilman takes issue with UArizona/Sumlin buyout

Posted at 10:18 PM, Dec 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-22 06:36:54-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Kevin Sumlin, who was recently fired by the University of Arizona, is in line to receive a multi-million dollar buyout from the university.

This, during a pandemic, when the UArizona had to layoff employees, among them, Tucson Councilman Steve Kozachik.

KOZACHIK ON DEPARTMENT FUNDING

"I just want the public to have the facts," Kozachik said.

He reached out to KGUN saying the athletic department has been funded, in part, by student fees.

"The athletics department has been collecting students' fees since 2017. They've been collecting $100 per undergrad and $50 per graduate student," Kozachik said.

"That goes right into the department budget and that fee lasts until about 2048."

HEEKE'S PRESS CONFERENCE

At last week's press conference on Sumlin's firing, athletics director, Dave Heeke offered a different take.

"The expenditures of the athletic department, our budget, is completely supported through the revenues of the athletics department," Heeke said.

"There aren't university funds that pay for our expenses in the athletic department."

KGUN reached out to the University's athletic department for comment on these specific issues and were directed to Heeke's statements at the press conference.

WHO PAYS FOR THE BUYOUT?

"The buyout comes from no student fees and no university-generated dollars," Heeke said.

"So for the athletics director to say the buyout is being paid for through the department budget and not through student fees is at very best disingenuous," Kozachik said.

COACHING SELECTION

Another part of Heeke's statement with which Kozachik takes issue is the idea of hiring from within the UArizona community.

"We need a head coach with that mentality that we will start right here in our backyard and have great relationships."

"Dave Heeke was the one who hired Kevin Sumlin three years ago. I was in department at the time, there's that exact same chatter back then," Kozachik said.

In 2018 the university bought out Rich Rodriguez's contract for $6 million.

Sumlin was his replacement.