Posted on Aug 14, 2003 in Formal Opinions

Opinion Letter No. 03-16
August 14, 2003
Disclosure of University’s Contract with Head Football Coach

The 1998 contract between the University of Hawaii (“UH”) and Head Football Coach June Jones must be publicly disclosed. Certain information about the contract has already been disclosed by UH and Coach Jones and has been reported by the media. There is no reasonable basis to withhold the portions of the contract containing information that has previously been made public.

The OIP also found that, because of the public nature of his position and the fact that he is one of the highest paid State employees, if not the highest, Coach Jones’ privacy interests relating to the contract are outweighed by the public’s right to know.

Lastly, based upon the information provided by UH, the OIP could not conclude that disclosure of the contract will frustrate a legitimate government function, i.e., UH’s ability to maintain morale in the athletic department or to negotiate contracts with its coaches. For those reasons, the contract, in its entirety, was deemed disclosable.

The OIP also stated that, absent extraordinary circumstances, disclosure of UH’s new (second) contract with Coach Jones, once executed, should be in accordance with this opinion.

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