TAMPA, Florida -- A state operational audit of the University of South Florida indicated the university was skirting state law with the way it was compensating a number of high-paid administrators, as well as former head football coach Skip Holtz.
Holtz received a $2.5 million buyout from the university over five years when he was relieved of his duties in 2013. But the audit points to a state law that only allows 20 weeks of severance pay to state employees.
The audit suggests Holtz was overpaid by $1.7 million, but USF responded by calling the payout "damages," not "severance." The state did not assess any fines or penalties for the alleged infraction, so a USF spokesman says Thursday the two sides "agree to disagree" on Holtz' compensation.
Meanwhile, the university will make corrections in other areas identified by the operational audit, including how some top administrators are paid. State law prohibits non-teaching faculty from collecting more than $200,000 a year in tax dollars.
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But Provost Ralph Wilcox made $354,660, USF Sarasota-Manatee regional chancellor Arthur Guilford made $238,494, and former USF St. Petersburg interim chancellor Bill Hogarth made $217,064.
Moving forward, USF said it will pay a portion of administrator salaries in excess of $200,000 from private USF Foundation funds.
President Judy Genshaft receives $200,000 annually from USF's general revenue funds, while the USF Foundation adds another $270,000, plus performance bonuses.
Other recent audits completed by the state's auditor general have found similar infractions other state universities, including the University of Florida and Florida State University.
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