You know we are in a bad economy when a football coach will hire employment attorneys after losing his job.
Last week, the University of South Florida fired its head football coach, Jim Leavitt. The University concluded that Coach Leavitt grabbed one of his players by the throat and slapped him in the face during halftime of USF’s game against Louisville.
Coach Leavitt denied any wrongdoing and now he is seeking reinstatement. This afternoon, Coach Leavitt held a press conference with his attorneys. One of his attorneys said that USF is wrong – legally, contractually, and procedurally. His attorneys also stated that USF was contractually obligated to provide him with a pre-termination meeting, so he could legally confront the evidence. His attorneys questioned the school’s decision to waive this meeting based on emergency circumstances.
Coach Leavitt is not the only one seeking legal counsel. The young man who was allegedly slapped has retained an attorney as well.
At the time of his termination, Coach Leavitt was under a seven-year 12.6 million dollar contract. This case will be interesting to follow and discuss in the coming months.
Edit (1/12/2010): It is hard to say which direction this case will go. There are good attorneys representing all of the parties involved. From Coach Leavitt's perspective, something tells me that his attorneys will focus on more than the simple denial of a pre-termination hearing. A cause of action for breach of contract immediately comes to mind. Notwithstanding, when I heard that he was fired last Friday, something told me that a lawsuit would soon follow.
(See: Baynews9 and St. Petersburg Times)