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Bohl's contract extension bars him from contacting NDSU recruits ... but is it enforceable?

by Mike McFeely

Several months ago, Kyle Potter of Forum Communications dug through e-mails between North Dakota State president Dean Bresciani, athletic director Gene Taylor and the university's lead attorney regarding the contract extension North Dakota State football coach Craig Bohl signed Jan. 1.

In the e-mails, Potter found NDSU taking unusual steps to protect itself in case Bohl left for a different head coaching job. Whether or not these steps are enforceable is another question.

The basics: Bohl signed the eight-year extension just prior to the Bison winning their second straight Football Championship. It paid him $205,503 winning an annual raise of 5 percent. Bohl also received 3 percent of all home game ticket sales, $60,000 for media appearances and other incentives based on victories. The biggest bonus was $15,000 for a national championship.

The contract also included buyouts based on the school for which Bohl ultimately left NDSU. If Bohl left for another FCS or a lower Football Bowl Subdivision job (such as Wyoming), he would owe NDSU $100,000. If he took a BCS position (Big Ten or Big 12, for example), Bohl would owe $413,000 plus 5 percent each year.

Most interesting, though, is the part of the contract that states Bohl would be barred from contacting any NDSU recruits for one year ... unless Bohl's new school had already contacted the recruit before his hiring. It seemed like a good way for the Bison to protect against Bohl taking his recruits with him -- especially in light of the news he has asked five NDSU assistants to go with him to Wyoming, plus the fact the Bison's 2014 recruiting class is generally ranked higher than Wyoming's.

But, Forum Communications' Potter asked an expert whether NDSU could enforce that stipulation:

“These recruits are going to be good recruits, and people know about them,” said University of Minnesota Sports Business Institute CEO Rayla Allison, who was consulted for this story. “NDSU doesn’t own that information.”

Interestingly, Potter ended the article with this quote from Taylor: "I don’t see coach looking at any opportunities. I really don’t,” Taylor said. “I feel the reason he wanted to (sign an extension) is so he didn’t have to worry about that stuff.” 

He didn't see the Wyoming juggernaut coming down the pike and offering $1.5 million per year, apparently.

(Mike McFeely is a talk-show host on KFGO-AM in Fargo, N.D. He can be reached at mike.mcfeely@mwcradio.com. Follow him on Twitter @MikeMcFeelyKFGO.)