"A 14-minute phone call has cost the University of Minnesota $1.2 million."
That's how the Pioneer Press this morning summed up the trial over whether University of Minnesota basketball coach Tubby Smith made a job offer to a potential assistant or simply discussed the possibility.
Beyond the cash and basketball angles, it got me wondering when a job offer is a job offer and when it's just talk.
Finding or keeping a job has been tough enough in the Great Recession. We're starting to hear more stories of people getting hired, which is great. But as hiring slowly resumes, do workers need to make absolutely sure they have a deal in hand?
I can recall a bunch of jobs I took on a handshake or a phone call, hoping the paperwork would follow. There's a lot of trust greasing the hiring wheels, it seems. Is it misplaced?
I'm reaching out today to human resources pros MPR's Public Insight Network on this issue. I'd love to be able to get some discussion going.
If you've been a position where you weren't quite sure if a job offer was made to you, post something below or contact me directly.
I'd also love to hear from the people who do the hiring. Do you end up dealing with prospects who try to pretend they got the job when you made it clear they did not?
I'll do some reporting on this over the next couple days and post on it next week. We really need MinnEcon readers to offer their insights and stories.
In the Smith case, the assistant, Jimmy Williams, quit his job at Oklahoma State believing Smith had offered him one at Minnesota. Smith said he'd never offered that job and didn't tell the assistant to quit.
Minnesota backed away from Williams after athletic director Joel Maturi pointed out NCAA recruiting violations in his past, according to the Associated Press.
The jury sided with the assistant. The U said afterward it stands behind Smith and is weighing an appeal.