Louisville Player’s ‘Breach of Scholarship Promise” Suit Against UL and Charlie Strong is Continued

University of Texas Introduces Charlie Strong

Former University of Louisville player Patrick Grant has sued Louisville and its former head coach Charlie Strong (who left in 2013 to be head coach at Texas), claiming that they reneged on a promise to give him a scholarship which included one year of graduate school. The case is complicated by the fact that Grant had been assaulted by two Louisville teammates, causing injuries which prevented him from playing. Grant claims that the scholarship promise was made by Strong after it became clear that Grant’s post-attack injuries would prevent him from any longer playing football.

Grant’s suit was set to go to trial this week, until a motion to continue that trial until May 27 was granted. But the trial will likely shine a spotlight on, or lift a curtain on, one of the most abused recruiting tools in college sports: the undocumented oral promises or representations made by coaches.


This is not the first such “breach of oral promise” brought by a former player against Louisville and a UL coach. Back in 2006, former UL football player Ryan Holifield sued, claiming that he was promised a scholarship after his first year, if he agreed to pay for that first year himself. Holifield, his parents, and Fork Union Military Academy coach Frank Sullivan all testified at trial that Petrino had made the oral offer. Petrino testified that he’d never made any such offer. The jury found in favor of Louisville and Petrino. One might fairly guess that today, the same jury might render a different verdict, had they known of Petrino’s behavior in 2011, which led to his firing from a later position as head coach at Arkansas, and involved hiring his 24-year old paramour as an Arkansas athletic department employee — and then getting into highly publicized motorcycle accident with her on the back of the bike.

Plaintiff Grant’s suit has triggered now-Texas coach Strong to assert that it is “meritless,” stating, “I mean, why would you give a kid five years if he isn’t playing? I have 85 scholarships. What if every kid told me when he graduated, ‘I want to continue to go to school, Coach?’ How would I fill up my other class?” Strong might’ve been slightly annoyed by Grant’s other central contention, that he had been encouraged by Strong and others at UL to cover up the fact that his injuries had been caused by an assault by two other players.

In 1993, highly-touted quarterback Brian Fortay committed by NLI to the University of Miami, but Miami coach Jimmy Johnson bolted for the NFL shortly after Fortay’s commitment. According to the lawsuit later filed by Fortay, the coach who replaced Johnson, Dennis Erikson, convinced Fortay to stay at Miami by promising, among other things, that Fortay would be the starting quarterback. Erikson also refused to release Fortay from his NLI. As it turned out, when Fortay enrolled, he “red-shirted”and then became the back-up quarterback. But Fortay’s suit was eventually settled, so that no precedent was ever set with respect to Fortay’s unusual legal claim that the oral promises made by coach Erikson ought to have been enforceable.

West Virginia’s head coach Dana Holgerson admits that “you lie in recruiting a bunch.” And players are young, and often naive — as the late Marquette coach Al McGuire commented about the recruiting of then-Virginia high-school senior (and later pro basketball star) Moses Malone: “If someone could get an hour alone with Malone they could convince him he’d be the first black astronaut on the moon.” But these cases highlight the fact that no other business in the U.S. relies on an employee recruiting process as zany, expensive, and filled with infomercial-type promises which often issue because the coach knows no one is watching. Any player should always confirm in a written email any promise made to him by any coach.


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ESPN: What’s Under the Golden Dome?


In a novel Jan. 15 lawsuit filed in the state of Indiana (St. Joseph County Superior Court), ESPN and its reporter Paula Lavigne seek an order, pursuant to the state’s public records law, requiring Notre Dame to turn over records from the school’s police department which may pertain to possible crimes or transgressions by one or more of the school’s student-athletes. See articles at Business Insider, and SI.com.)

The state has a Public Access Counselor, Luke Britt, who has generated two (non-binding) opinions (on Oct. 31, and earlier this month) declaring that the public access law requires Notre Dame to disclose the records. His rationale — notable, to the say the least, since the long-accepted wisdom is that private schools have no obligation to perform under state or federal public access laws — is that the ND police force’s status as a public law enforcement agency makes it subject to the Indiana’s Access to Public Records Act.

ESPN had apparently made a similar request of Florida State this past fall, and FSU voluntarily then released the records to the public, making moot the request generated by ESPN. But FSU, as a public university, has clear and long-recognized obligations under the state’s public access law.

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Story of the Week — Fight Fiercely Harvard – HBS Prof Tries to “Take Out” Chinese restaurant

Harvard Business School Prof Ben Edelman

Harvard Business School Prof Ben Edelman

Attorney Ben Edelman, a 34-year-old HBS prof, went email bonkers when he thought a Brookline chinese restaurant had overcharged him $4 on his take-out order. The exchange might be most notable for the repeatedly reserved, down-to-earth and polite responses penned by bartender-owner Ran Duan.

Bartender-Owner Ran Duan

Bartender-Owner Ran Duan

And it turns out that Prof. Edelman had similarly attacked another Boston-area oriental restaurant several years ago. Fight Fiercely Harvard!




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The Hand of God: Odell Beckham, Jr. in Pre-Game and Elsewhere

Odell Beckham and the Hand of God

Odell Beckham and the Hand of God

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Gone, Baby Gone — Climate Change Simplified : Glacier National Park’s glacier Count Down From 150 to 25

This is important: Glaciers National Park glacier count is down to 25 — from 150.  


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Harvard-Yale — 10th Anniversary of Harvard Fans’ “We Suck” — Greatest Game-Day Prank Ever

Ten years ago, two Yale students pulled off the greatest game-day prank ever – at Harvard Stadium.  See this excellent summary, and consult this video.


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A Primer for Princeton Guy Dr. Schlissel: How to Ride the Mad Bull of Michigan Football

(A letter of advice, with a primer, for Michigan’s new President, Dr. Mark Schlissel)

Dear Dr. Schlissel:

When you arrived at Michigan two months ago, you probably thought you would spend your first few months pondering it all, taking quiet walks through the Arb down to the old Huron, or perhaps languishing in those burnt-autumn afternoon suns, watching the marching band practice down at Elbel field, while you quietly mouth the unfamiliar lyrics to ‘The Victors’ and “The Yellow and the Blue,” shown on the cribsheet done-up for you by the Glee Club conductor.

But none of that happened. Continue reading

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Remember: Michigan Gave Joe Parker a “Letter of Reprimand” On His Way Out

There are those who now bandy about names as potential candidates to fill the Michigan AD positions: Warde Manuel of UConn, Brad Bates at BC, Jeff Long at Arkansas.

And some people dangle the name Joe Parker, now the Deputy AD at Texas Tech. Continue reading

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How Jamie Morris Saved Dave Brandon’s Ass, Four Years Ago

]This is a re=post of a December 2010 post about the whole Jamie Morris firing by then-new Michigan AD David Brandon]

David Brandon knifed Morris, hard; fired him, quick-as-lightening, on April 25, 2010. The Driver of a UM Loaner Car in an April 14, 2010 accident was one of the illegal “Quality Control” staffers which were the subject of the NCAA violations — violations which would be the subject of upcoming NCAA COI hearings.

Here’s the explanation as to exactly how Morris “zipped his lips”, and took a huge “fall” for Brandon — and for UM — to save both from further NCAA problems. Continue reading

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If UM President Schlissel Sits in Student Section at Tomorrow’s Indiana Game, He Becomes a National Folk Hero

Former Michigan AD David Brandon

Former Michigan AD David Brandon

Though the NCAA purports to hold as one of its core values the “integration” of college athletics into the student body, most students now know that this “value” is merely a cover for the mercantile, for-profit motive which has consumed college sports.

Michigan’s new President Dr. Mark Schlissel, who has been on the job only 110 days, looked like Tom Brady in the pocket, reading all the coverages, in his press conference today, announcing the well-received resignation of AD David Brandon.

Michigan President Dr. Mark Schlissel

Michigan President Dr. Mark Schlissel

Dr. Schlissel now has a rare opportunity: at tomorrow’s Indiana game at the Big House, he needs to go sit in the Student Section during the first half. The resulting goodwill, amongst a student body which not only was treated as a mere retail customer by Brandon, but then rose up — in a manner not seen on any campus, anywhere, within the last four decades — to insist on Brandon’s removal, would be extraordinary. Schlissel is poised to lead, and can seal his emerging role as an advocate for students, academics, and “balance” in college athletics by taking a seat in the Student Section, and leading a round of ‘The Victors.’

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