ISU, Clinkscales "mutually agreed" to AD's resignation

Jan. 4—Sherard Clinkscales departed his role as Indiana State University athletic director after he and ISU "mutually agreed" that Clinkscales would resign, according to a legal document.

That explanation was included in a separation and release agreement between ISU and Clinkscales. Both parties signed it on Jan. 1. The university provided a copy of the agreement to the Tribune-Star on Thursday, one day after the newspaper filed a public records request.

Clinkscales' 7 1/2 years as Sycamore athletic director ended on Sunday, midway through the 2023-24 ISU athletic season. The university announced the move Tuesday, with no specific reason cited, expect to say that Clinkscales "has decided to step down from his role to pursue other opportunities."

The separation and release agreement states, "Mr. Clinkscales and ISU have mutually agreed that Mr. Clinkscales will resign from his position as Director of Intercollegiate Athletics effective December 31, 2023 and have further agreed that the Employment Contract will also terminate as of that same date."

Clinkscales' contract previously ran through June 2025. In September 2022, ISU announced it was extending Clinkscales' contract by two years, lengthening his contract through June 2025. ISU had an option to extend Clinkscales' contract two years beyond 2025.

The separation and release agreement also states that ISU agreed to pay Clinkscales $165,979 in severance, as well as other benefits and considerations. That severance "compensates Mr. Clinkscales for 50% of his base salary for the remaining 18 months" of his contract, the agreement says.

Notably, the separation and release agreement includes a "mutual non-disparagement" clause, obliging Clinkscales, ISU President Deborah Curtis and ISU administrators to refrain from making derogatory comments about each other.

It reads: "Mr. Clinkscales agrees he will not make any disparaging or derogatory statements regarding ISU, its educational programs, its services, or any of its trustees, cabinet members, administrators, directors, officers, faculty, staff, employees, or agents."

Later, the agreement's clause adds, "ISU likewise agrees that its President Deborah Curtis agrees that she will not make any disparaging or derogatory statements regarding Mr. Clinkscales."

In Tuesday's announcement by the university, Curtis thanked Clinkscales for his work. "Under his leadership, he has helped raise the standard among ISU's athletics programs," Curtis said. "We extend our best wishes to him in all his future endeavors."

Indeed, the progress of Sycamore athletic programs under Clinkscales' watch included the hiring of men's basketball coach Josh Schertz, whose team won 23 games last season and has won 12 of 14 so far this season; two Missouri Valley Conference baseball championships and a 2023 NCAA regional title by Coach Mitch Hannahs' squads; five MVC championships in the past two years by Coach Angie Martin's men's and women's teams; and a MVC Tournament runners-up finish by the 2023 ISU softball team. ISU placed third in the MVC All-Sports Trophy race in 2021, its best finish since 2014.

Meanwhile, the Sycamore football program continued to struggle to contend in the stout Missouri Valley Football Conference.

Upon leaving, the 53-year-old Clinkscales thanked his ISU colleagues, staff, student-athletes and the community, as well as former ISU President Dan Bradley, who hired Clinkscales in February 2016. In a statement issued via his agent, Myles Solomon, Clinkscales said Tuesday, "I look forward to future opportunities to serve in this competitive, and ever-changing college athletics environment. God bless this university and community. March On!"

On Wednesday, ISU named veteran Sycamore athletic administrator Angie Lansing — the senior associate athletics director and senior woman administrator — to serve as interim AD. Lansing previously served in that capacity in 2016, prior to Clinkscales' hiring.

Mark Bennett can be reached at 812-231-4377 or