Athletes have the right to challenge a non-renewal, and I believe that challenge goes before a Faculty Senate subcommittee, and in the past (Spanier, Curley, etc), that committee was very likely to overturn a non-renewal that was made for athletic reasons. Not sure whether things have changed.
Of course, challenging the non-renewal (even if you are likely to prevail) has negative impacts on the challenger. With the coming release of the Baylor documentary, I am reminded of Abar Rouse surreptitiously taping his coach advising them how to cover up things during a murder investigation:
Dallas lawyer Michael Pegues, who has been representing Rouse in the coach's dealings with Baylor, said Rouse has not directly applied for college coaching positions but has "unofficially" explored his options and has discovered that he is viewed by his peers in a negative light.
That fact was reinforced when three prominent college basketball coaches -- Duke's Mike Krzyzewski, Syracuse's Jim Boeheim and Oklahoma's Kelvin Sampson -- appeared on a segment of ESPN's "Outside the Lines" in October, shortly after an NABC-sponsored ethics "summit." Asked whether Rouse did the right thing by taping Bliss, all three said no.
"If one of my assistants would tape every one of my conversations with me not knowing it, there's no way he would be on my staff," Krzyzewski said.
Pegues said the three coaches are off-base in their thinking because Rouse was in the middle of a horrific situation that would have come down to his word against Bliss' without the tapes.