HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) -- Pennsylvania's 14 state-owned universities and the union representing their non-faculty coaches announced a tentative contract agreement this week that would avert a strike that threatened to interfere with the football season and other fall sports.
A strike would have been the first of its kind among collegiate athletic coaches and would likely have shut down the Division II Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference, which includes Bloomsburg, California (Pa.), Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana (Pa.), Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock and West Chester.
Slippery Rock opens its football season on Sept. 1 in Youngstown against Youngstown State University.
The State System of Higher Education and the union -- the Association of Pennsylvania College and University Faculties -- have disagreed over issues including health care, salary, retroactive pay, and tying renewals to performance reviews.
In the agreement, the 360 coaches would receive general salary increases of 3 percent in the second and third years of a three-year contract that would expire June 30, 2007.
There would be no raises in the first year.
Union officials said earlier this month they had set a strike date but would not reveal what it was, saying only that the coaches would give 48 hours' notice before striking sometime before the end of football season, which begins Friday.
The contract would be retroactive to July 1, 2004.
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