AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — Amid an investigation into football coach Bryan Harsin, Auburn University has implemented a new policy stating that employees can be fired for not cooperating with an investigation or review.
The new policy, which went into effect on Tuesday, states that violations “may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination.” It was titled the “Employee Duty to Cooperate Policy.”
The university is looking into the football program, which has lost 18 players and five assistant coaches since the end of Harsin's first season. The defections came after the Tigers lost their final five games and finished with a 6-7 record.
Harsin attended a meeting of Southeastern Conference coaches on Thursday at league headquarters in Birmingham. Harsin, escorted by a state trooper, entered through a side alley while reporters staked out other entrances to the building.
Auburn did not immediately respond to a question about the reasons for the new policy or whether it was related to the Harsin investigation.
The policy states, in part: “Employees have a duty to cooperate fully and truthfully with investigations, inquiries, and reviews relating to their university responsibilities and professional obligations. For example, employees must do the following: cooperate in sharing requested information and participating in interviews; produce all requested university documentation within their custody or command; disclose additional information relevant to the investigation or review; and maintain confidentiality as advised.”
Harsin maintained in an interview with ESPN last week that he’s “not planning on going anywhere.” Auburn released a statement on Monday saying university officials are “judiciously collecting information" from sources, including student-athletes.
Harsin arrived at Auburn after being hired away from Boise State in December 2020.
Newly hired offensive coordinator Austin Davis announced he was resigning for personal reasons after replacing a fired Mike Bobo. In January, defensive coordinator Derek Mason left for Oklahoma State.
Harsin’s contract runs through the 2026 season and averages $5.25 million per season. If he is fired without cause, Auburn would owe Harsin 70% of the remaining value of the deal, or about $18 million.
Harsin replaced Gus Malzahn, who was fired after last season and received a buyout of $21.45 million.
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