Turns out that promoting Helfrich without interviewing a qualified minority candidate — or at least making a good-faith attempt to find such a candidate — would violate Oregon law. Three years ago, the Oregon Legislature passed pioneering legislation that made Oregon the first state in the nation to require its public universities to interview a qualified minority candidate before hiring a head coach or athletic director. The bill had overwhelming support in both chambers of the Legislature, passing the Senate with all 29 senators present voting yes.
The intent of Mitch Greenlick's law is pretty clear, but football trumps it. It seems AD Rob Mullens found a few minority candidates willing to play along with the pretense of an open search. But remember this is a university that doesn't even hold open public searches for president or provost.
Personally I've always preferred Malcolm X to King - maybe next year UO should honor him?