UM president Seth Bodnar met with Athletic Director Kent Haslam on Tuesday, Jan. 30, to sign off on the nonrenewal of women’s soccer coach Mark Plakorus, but did not discuss the nonrenewal’s characterization as a “resignation,” a university spokesperson says.
The university decided not to renew Plakorus’ contract this week after discovering that he had used a UM-issued cell phone to text escort services in Las Vegas during recruiting trips, the Indy and Missoulian reported Thursday. The papers reported that athletics officials had looked through Plakorus’ phone records after a “team culture survey” conducted by the Title IX office in November revealed some players’ concerns about the coach’s “excessive texting or texting at odd hours.”
But UM announced Plakorus’ abrupt departure as a resignation, with Haslam telling the Missoulian only that “it was mutually agreed it was time for him to move on.” Plakorus said he was leaving UM to spend time with his family.
Several unnamed players told the Missoulian on Thursday that the university’s handling of the departure was painful for them.
“People feel disrespected by the way the school portrayed him,” one said.
Bodnar issued a statement Friday describing the events leading to Plakorus’ nonrenewal. The statement says UM is committed to the success and support of its student athletes, and “will make sure we move forward in a manner that is supportive, transparent, and inclusive to serve the program’s needs.”
In response to a follow-up question late Friday, UM spokesperson Paula Short wrote in an email that Haslam briefed Bodnar on the process and his decision, which Bodnar agreed with. They did not discuss how the announcement would be handled, Short says.
Bodnar “would have preferred the public communication to be more specific, and he and AD Haslam have spoken about that,” Short wrote.