College Station, Texas — Texas A&M officials admonished coach Dennis Franchione for his secretive, for-pay newsletter Thursday and said the embarrassing episode would be a factor in deciding whether he returns next season.
Franchione didn't lose his job, but athletic director Bill Byrne said the newsletter - which delivered inside information to boosters for $1,200 a year - would be considered when he evaluates the coach after the season.
The school said it would report the results of an internal investigation to the NCAA because of possible rules violations, and Franchione was ordered to shut down his Web site, CoachFran.com. He also will receive a "letter of admonishment."
"The Aggies are embarrassed right now," Byrne said. "This has been a very unfortunate incident we do not want to experience again."
Byrne said the school was consulting with attorneys to see if Franchione violated his $2 million-per-year contract by failing to report income generated from the newsletter e-mails and his Web site.
"I'm assuring you, it will be part of his personnel review," Byrne said.
A&M reported that the Web site and e-mails generated about $80,000 between 2005 and 2007. The school said Franchione's net profit was $37,806.32.
Franchione's contract specifies the coach must report to the school president "annually in writing" any outside income. The contract, which runs through 2012, specifically mentions income from Web sites. The AP also obtained copies of Franchione's annual outside income reports, and none include income from Web sites.
Byrne said he wasn't aware of the newsletters until a reporter asked about them. A&M hired a consulting firm to investigate two weeks ago, after Franchione admitted he provided the information in the newsletter, called the "VIP Connection."
"My guess is there was an attempt to keep it from us," Byrne said. "I think the whole thing started as something well-intended ... It just got out of control."
Franchione apologized to his team, the school and fans in a statement released after Byrne met with reporters.
"I was trying to keep some loyal Aggies informed on our program in greater detail throughout the year," he said. "Please do not blame them. They were only trying to support our program."