Middle Tennessee State University is mulling new language in its contracts that would allow the school to hold coaches accountable for not reporting incidents of sexual and domestic abuse.
According to the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal, the more specific contractual language would allow MTSU to fire a coach for cause if the coach failed to report abuse.
"We're starting to write that in," athletic director Chris Massaro said. "We're trying to make those lines a little bit stronger.”
MTSU football coach Rick Stockstill’s contract, which was signed in 2013 and runs through 2025, doesn’t currently contain language referencing reporting sexual or domestic abuse. Contracts for the school’s basketball, golf and baseball coaches are likewise without the language.
Massaro said the contracts already include more vague language relating to moral conduct but admitted that school needs to get more exact. “Now we're being a little bit more specific,” he said, “so it's not ambiguous enough to interpretation of others. It's pretty point blank in the contract that these are serious issues and it could lead to firing with cause."
Current contracts state: "Coach agrees to maintain the high moral and ethical standards commonly expected of him as a leading representative of the University."
MTSU is responding directly to the recent situation at Ohio State, where longtime coach Urban Meyer was suspended for the first three games of the season after the school found that he knew about but did report domestic abuse allegations against of his former assistant coaches.
"What you look at is the language in your contract [and does] it address those kinds of issues," Massaro said. "For instance, the Maryland situation, the Ohio State situation and those kinds of things that pop up that we can learn from and improve from. So that's what we're kind of doing with our recent contracts."