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Big 12 football program sues former coach for breach of contract

In the world of sports, some bizarre contract disputes are occasionally seen. These can come up in professional sports, but they are seen also in college athletics. For example, one state university sued one of its former football coaches for moving to the coaching staff of another major university while allegedly still under written contract with the plaintiff school. The complaint alleges a breach of contract and requests damages of nearly $600,000. With its wealth of college and professional sports, Florida is one state where such disputes are also likely to arise.

Such litigation is in itself not unusual, but in this case, the coach’s contract with the plaintiff university apparently prohibited him from taking another coaching position unless it was a high-level coaching job that involved calling the plays. The plaintiff university claims damages in the amount of nearly $600,000. It claimed that he moved to the other school without obtaining a position in which he was calling the plays.

The dispute seems to center around whether the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at the new team, the Texas Longhorns, is actually calling the plays as opposed to the defendant, who was previously a coach with the plaintiff, Oklahoma State University. It appears that both the defendant and the offensive coordinator have had play-calling responsibilities since the defendant arrived in Texas. The Texas head coach has, however, made confusing public comments and has indicated that the quarterbacks coach has the final say on each play that is called.

The aggressiveness with which the plaintiff is pursuing this breach of contract case is unusual, according to some observers. On the other hand, if it actually paid out the $600,000, it may have a powerful argument that it did not get its money’s worth, depending on how much of the contract the defendant actually performed. The head coach, whose inconsistent statements have sparked the controversy, is facing the imminent scheduling of his oral deposition. The principles of contract law applied to this conflict would be similar if the case were being litigated here in Florida.

Source: kxan.com, “Oklahoma State seeks Charlie Strong interview“, Jim Vertuno, Feb. 9, 2015

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