What is a contract?
A contract is any document that creates an obligation, right, or liability for the University of Memphis regardless of whether it is called a contract, agreement or MOU.  All contracts entered into in the name of the University are subject to the University's policies and procedures as well as applicable State purchasing regulations and the statutory constraints on contracts entered into by State agencies.

Who can sign contracts?
Very few individuals at the University are authorized to sign contracts on behalf of the University. No member of the University community may sign a contract without specific authorization from the President as designated in the University's Contracts and Signatory Authority policy. Persons entering into contracts without complying with all applicable policies, State laws and regulations may be personally liable for any amounts due under those contracts.

Who drafts, reviews and/or approves contracts at the University of Memphis?
The drafting, review and approval of contracts is a collaborative process involving several departments. Contracts at the University of Memphis can be placed into one of the following four categories.

  1. Procurement Contracts:    Any contract for the purchase or rendering of goods and services should be routed according to the Purchase Decision Tree. Such contracts may be characterized as one of the following:
    • Expenditure contracts – contracts where the University is obligated to pay a third party for goods and services. Examples include purchases of software, equipment, materials, or contracts for professional services like consultants.
    • Revenue contracts - contracts obligating the University to provide specific deliverable services for monetary compensation. Examples include payment for musical compositions, facilities use, and payments for services provided by University departments to external entities.

    Procurement Contracts must first be sent to Procurement and should not be sent to OLC. Although OLC may be required to review the contract as part of the process, Procurement will make that determination. More information about Procurement can be found on their site or you may call 901-678-2265.

  2. Business Services Contracts:   The Business Services Division is responsible for the following agreements:
    • Leases;
    • Professional Services Agreements;
    • Clinical Affiliations Agreements;
    • Musical Agreements;
    • Facility Use Agreements;
    • Hotel Agreements; and
    • Certain licenses.

    If you have been presented with this type of agreement or require assistance in drafting one, please contact Business Services at 901-678-2307 or visit their site for more information.

  3. Sponsored Programs Contracts:   The Office of Sponsored Programs manages all contracts and grants related to faculty research. This includes both monetary and non-monetary agreements, as well as subcontracts and sub-grants. Typical contracts range from faculty sponsored research agreements, fee for service agreements, non-disclosure agreements, data-use agreements, material transfer agreements, memorandums of understanding, and institutional and industry cooperative agreements. If you have been presented with this type of agreement, please contact the Office of Sponsored Programs at 901-678-5071.
  4. Legal Contracts:  The Office of Legal Counsel has primary responsibility for reviewing contracts that do not fall into any of the areas listed above, including Memorandums of Understanding/Agreement. To submit a contract for OLC review, please send to legalcontracts@memphis.edu, along with appropriate departmental approvals. The OLC will only review a contract after appropriate internal approvals have been obtained. If you have questions regarding the appropriate approvals required for your contract, please contact the OLC at legalcontracts@memphis.edu or 901-678-2155 for assistance.