Alabama trustees upheld on Thursday the decision to discipline rather than fire football coach Mike DuBose, who lied about his relationship with an employee who accused him of sexual harassment.
Sid McDonald, president pro tem of the system's governing board, said some trustees thought president Andrew Sorensen's disciplinary action should be overturned. But, he said, that was not the "prevailing opinion" of the board.
McDonald, commenting after the trustees met for about four hours behind closed doors, said the DuBose matter will remain under review and could come up again when the board meets in mid-September. But he said it would take "new information" to change the board's position.
DuBose, starting his third season, had his salary cut by $360,000 over the next three years by Sorensen as part of the disciplinary action taken against him. At the same time, the university agreed to pay $350,000 to the employee who filed the sexual harassment complaint against DuBose.
DuBose, who said during a May news conference that rumors about him and an employee were false, admitted last week that he'd lied. He didn't elaborate, and university officials didn't identify the employee.
McDonald said the board "will think of Mike DuBose as being on probation" for an episode that has left scars on the school.
"They won't heal quickly. They won't go away fast," he said. "The entire matter proves that not every cloud has a silver lining. We can't find one."
McDonald said no formal vote was taken by the trustees, whose meeting was described as a retreat and not a regular business session, but the preliminary approval of the disciplinary action was the consensus.
Sorensen, speaking after the trustees' private session, said he doesn't know "for sure" if he still can trust DuBose to abide by NCAA regulations. "That does make it difficult," he said.
He said he could accept whatever the board chose to do, even if it eventually decides to fire the coach. But, he said: "I do not expect that to happen."
DuBose, who previously met with Sorensen, said prior to the trustees' session that he had no anxiety about it. He did not immediately return a phone message left at his Tuscaloosa office Thursday.
Trustees have complained that the decision by Sorensen was made without their knowledge or input.
Outside the meeting, system chancellor Thomas Meredith said he didn't tell trustees about the sexual harassment claim against DuBose at the request of Sorensen.
"The negotiations were intense. They were trying to hold it close," Meredith said of the lawyers' settlement talks. But he said board members have asked to be better informed "and they should have been."
Sorensen also said he should have discussed with Meredith the process for informing the trustees of the situation.
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