Oregon State drops lawsuit after Tech’s Todd Stansbury pays back buyout

Georgia Tech athletic director Todd Stansbury.

Credit: Alyssa Pointer

Credit: Alyssa Pointer

Georgia Tech athletic director Todd Stansbury.

Oregon State has dropped its lawsuit against Georgia Tech athletic director Todd Stansbury after he completed his financial obligation to his former employer.

Oregon State had filed a complaint against Stansbury in December alleging that he had failed to pay back the $2.1 million buyout that he owed for leaving to take the AD job at Tech in 2016, a little more than a year into his job.

On Jan. 31, Stansbury wired Oregon State a payment of $1,565,908.43, satisfying his obligation to the school. Stansbury was able to handle the sum, which he was contractually obligated to pay in full 30 days after breaking his Oregon State contract, thanks to a restructuring of his contract with Tech.

In short, Stansbury accepted a reduced salary in exchange for a loan to immediately cover his debt to Oregon State.

A statement from Tech provided to the AJC acknowledged the resolution of the lawsuit and confirmed that new employment terms had been negotiated “so that (Stansbury) could resolve this matter quickly and in a financially prudent manner.”

The statement continued: “With the support and approval of the GTAA Board of Trustees, we are pleased that he has now resolved this matter and look forward to his continuing contributions and full focus on our program’s success.”

Stansbury was making $937,500 this fiscal year after starting out at $900,000 on his original contract signed in November 2016. However, on Jan. 29, he signed a new contract paying him $650,000 per year ($500,000 by the institute and $150,000 by the athletic association). The same day, he also signed to receive a loan from the Tech athletic association in the amount of $1,558,191.98, money contractually designated to “pay his outstanding debt to Oregon State University in full.”

While the loan will compound semiannually at a rate of 4%, the loan agreement stipulates that 20% of the principal “and any interest theron” will be forgiven on New Year’s Day starting in 2021 and ending in 2026, provided Stansbury remains at Tech. If Stansbury were to leave Tech before then, he would be obligated to pay the remaining debt owed within six months. The promissory note and new contract were provided to the AJC by Tech on Friday.

Stansbury’s original contract was for five years, with his salary for 2020-21 to be $951,000. Using that salary as a standard and holding his new salary of $650,000 constant through 2025-26, the difference in Stansbury’s salary income roughly amounts to $1.5 million, about the same amount as the loan.

The loan, provided by the athletic association, is another burden on the department’s finances. The department was facing a $700,000 deficit for its annual budget before the loan and the fund balance was projected to end the fiscal year at $4.6 million in the red.

The repayment ends a curious and embarrassing episode for Tech and Stansbury, whose original contract was designed to address the buyout obligation to Oregon State in the form of a salary that was 80% higher than his income at Oregon State and $200,000 greater than his predecessor Mike Bobinski, as well as a $1.1 million loan from Tech that would be forgiven if he were to stay at Tech for the length of his five-year contract.

Stansbury had made substantial but infrequent payments to Oregon State, totaling roughly $1 million. However, as the loan was accruing interest at 9% annually, the amount owed stood at $1.5 million on Oct. 31 of last year, prompting Oregon State to file suit against him Dec. 18.

“Oregon State University is happy that this matter has been satisfactorily and fully concluded,” school spokesman Steve Clark said in a statement.