Connecticut’s state ethics board has dropped its appeal of a judge’s decision that allowed UConn football coach Randy Edsall’s son Corey to work in the Huskies’ program, clearing the way for Corey Edsall to remain on staff, the Office of State Ethics announced Monday.
Edsall is a graduate of Susquehannock High School.
A Superior Court judge ruled in November that UConn did not violate state ethics laws in hiring Corey Edsall as UConn’s tight ends coach, contrary to the position of the Citizen’s Ethics Advisory Board. The ethics board at first appealed the decision but concluded that the ruling would not likely be overturned, according to a press release sent Monday.
Ethics board chair Dena Castricone said in a statement that a 2018 amendment to the state’s code of ethics had made its case untenable.
“It is clear — and unfortunate — that Public Act 18-175, while designed to address a singular situation, opens the door to nepotism not just in the football program but throughout Connecticut state universities and community colleges,” Castricone said.
In a statement issued Monday afternoon, UConn spokeswoman Stephanie Reitz argued that the judge’s ruling was not contingent on the amendment and that Corey Edsall’s hiring would have been legal regardless.
“The university is not surprised that this appeal is being withdrawn,” Reitz said. “However, the statement released by the office of state ethics appears to reflect a misunderstanding of state statute, longstanding precedent and the judge’s decision in the matter.
“In Connecticut, well-established office of state ethics rules and state statute allow for two family members to work together in the same unit of a state agency provided one does not take action that would further the financial interests of the other.”
Reitz said UConn had carefully followed all existing rules in hiring Corey Edsall.
The saga surrounding the Edsalls began in July 2017, when the ethics board ruled that the negotiation of Corey Edsall’s job, as well as his place on the UConn football staff, violated nepotism laws. UConn appealed, which allowed the Edsalls to coach together, and the following June lawmakers added an amendment to an unrelated bill that apparently had been designed to allow Corey Edsall to keep his job. Speaker of the House Joe Aresimowicz acknowledged that he had written the amendment following a conversation with Randy Edsall at a football-related dinner.
The ethics board criticized that amendment and the process that created it and continued to argue against UConn and the Edsalls in court.
In his November decision, judge Joseph Shortall wrote that the ethics board had “abused its discretion” and been “clearly erroneous” in its key ruling, regarding when Randy Edsall officially began as UConn coach.
Corey Edsall has remained on staff throughout the ordeal. He was paid $101,904 during the most recent fiscal year, according to public records.