Home UVA Athletics is making me FOIA the details of Tony Bennett’s contract status

UVA Athletics is making me FOIA the details of Tony Bennett’s contract status

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Photo: Mike Ingalls/AFP

Rumors about Tony Bennett’s contract status at Virginia picked up steam over the weekend, with social media chatter to the effect that Bennett has apparently declined a contract extension, and is currently working with just two years left on his contract.

I’m trying to get to the bottom of the story, but the folks at UVA Athletics aren’t making it easy.

I reached out to the media-relations office Monday afternoon to address the rumors.

The response: you’re going to need to FOIA that.

FOIA, as in, submit a request under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act.

Which I’ve done, because that’s what you do when you’re a reporter.

Sometimes, you even have to sue FOIA officials when they push the letter of the law to deny your request.

I’ve done that before; I’m certain that I’ll be back in court again at some point before they pry my pen and notebook from my cold, dead hands.

FOIA requests can take five working days to get an answer back, and as I was working on this column, I got a response back from the FOIA office at the University of Virginia telling me to expect a response by Monday, May 13, so, yep, five working days from today.

They don’t have to take that long – this one seems pretty cut-and-dried.

I’m just asking for details of Coach Bennett’s contract, and I also asked for information on any contract extensions either on the table, or that have been offered.

I have to say, the answer that I got from the athletics media-relations office today – pushing me to get what I’m looking for from the FOIA folks – would seem to suggest that there just might be something to the rumors that heated up on social media over the past couple of days.

If the answer was, no, Chris, there’s nothing to what is getting around, Coach Bennett is under contract through, insert year beyond 2026 here, I’m pretty sure the media-relations office would have just told me that straight up, instead of directing me to the FOIA office.

I was hoping to have better news to share; I assumed when I emailed UVA Athletics today that I would be debunking a rumor, which is always fun to do.

I love telling people who think the sky is falling, which is an apt description for most UVA Basketball fans, that they’re wrong.

Can’t do that here, though, not yet, and if I had to put money on it right now, it would be on the rumors being true.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].