Attempts by The Associated Press to reach Pelini were not successful Wednesday night. His resignation was immediately accepted, but that hardly means the saga ends.
According to Pelini's contract, in the event he terminated his employment at FAU without cause in his second year, he would pay the university $500,000 - roughly the amount he was making in salary this season. If the school had fired him for cause, Pelini would have not faced any potential repayment of salary. And according to his contract, the school would have had grounds to fire Pelini if he used "any narcotics, drugs, or other controlled substances."
Chun, when asked Wednesday why Pelini was not terminated for cause, said the former coaches "admitted to wrongdoings" and cited the ongoing investigation.
"I apologize for exercising poor judgment," Pelini said in a statement distributed by the school. "My greatest concerns at this time are for me family, the dedicated FAU players and my staff. I am confident that Pat Chun and the University administration will continue to move the program forward."
Chun said two people came forward initially with information about the drug usage, sparking a need for an investigation. It moved swiftly, and FAU made the decision early Wednesday to confront the coaches after a morning practice. Police were summoned Wednesday, Chun said, "from a safety standpoint" to protect FAU property, but also indicated that the meetings with the coaches went professionally.
"Once confronted, they resigned," Chun said.
Pelini was 5-15 at FAU, coming to the Owls after serving as defensive coordinator on brother Bo Pelini's staff at Nebraska. Even after Wednesday's developments, Chun was complimentary of Pelini and what he was building in Boca Raton, saying he left the program in better shape than when he found it, "in my opinion, at least," Chun said.
Someone else will have to continue that task. FAU's search for a permanent coach, Chun said, has begun.
"No. 1, I'm concerned for our football team," Chun said. "Obviously, I'm disappointed in Carl and Pete, but my thoughts are more about our kids and our assistant football coaches and what's going through their minds. This is a tough deal for kids and we've got to help these kids process this. They all looked up to these two guys and that's a tough place to be."