Law & Policy: Contract Law
Coach Fired Over Treatment of Athletes: 'Totally Untrue'
by Paul Steinbach November 2017
University of Louisiana-Lafayette softball coach Michael Lotief was fired Wednesday for subjecting student-athletes and coworkers to "violent, vulgar language and verbal and physical assault, creating a hostile learning and working environment."
Lotief, who amassed a 729-174 career coaching record while leading the Cajuns to five straight NCAA Super Regionals between 2012 and 2016 and three Women's College World Series appearances (2003, 2008, 2014), denies the allegations, claiming his 30-plus-year battle with throat cancer and resulting tracheotomy precluded him from such behavior. "Having a trach and not being able to breathe and a tube in my stomach, pretty much prevents me from physical confrontations," he said, according to ESPN.com.
Lotief's attorneys allege that the coach's termination has more to do with his advocacy for gender equality in athletics at Louisiana-Lafayette. "This matter arose out of a passionate discussion between Coach Lotief and several other persons within the university's athletic department wherein he complained of gender equality issues adversely affecting UL's female athletes, specifically the softball team," said attorney Glenn Edwards. "In response to a complaint of at least one participant in that conversation, Coach Lotief was immediately placed on administrative leave even though the written statements obtained about the conversation present completely divergent descriptions of what occurred."
Lotief had been on administrative leave since Oct. 6. He addressed his termination Wednesday with several team members in support behind him. "It's surreal, how unfactual it's been. It's totally untrue," said Lotief, whose assistant coach and video coordinator were also fired to — as a university statement put it — "allow the new coach to assemble their team." After the news conference, student-athletes discovered that they had been locked out of the team's facilities.
The team went 47-8 last season, winning Lafayette's 12th Sun Belt Conference title under Lotief.
"The allegation is that I poked someone in the shoulder, which seems like a very liberal interpretation of physical assault," said Lotief, who called accusations of verbal confrontation "a stretch. I'd even go so far as to say it's a lie."
Lotief and his attorneys said it was too soon to comment on future pursuit of legal remedies.
Jurich Refutes Louisville's Claim it Fired 'With Cause'
by Courtney Cameron October 2017
In a letter to former Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich dated Oct. 20, the university’s interim president Gregory Postel sought to explain and justify the decision by the board of trustees to fire Jurich two days after the termination of former basketball coach Rick Pitino.
Kentucky Boys' Basketball Champs Under Investigation
by Paul Steinbach October 2017
Did illegal recruiting help the Bowling Green High School boys' basketball program win its first Kentucky state championship last season? The Kentucky High School Athletic Association is currently looking into alleged recruiting violations by the school, which won its final 29 games during a 36-2 season, including in a 67-56 victory over Cooper in the title game.
SMG Terminates U.S. Bank Stadium Security Contract
by Courtney Cameron September 2017
In a public statement Tuesday, U.S. Bank Stadium operator SMG announced the termination of a three-year contract with Monterrey Security after only one year due to inadequacies in record-keeping, employee training and background checks.
How to Avoid Iowa’s Costly Discrimination Mistakes
by Kristi Schoepfer September 2017
In May, the University of Iowa settled two lawsuits filed by former members of its athletic department: Jane Meyer, former senior associate athletic director, and Tracey Griesbaum, former women's field hockey coach. Both Meyer and Griesbaum alleged the university was liable under the Iowa Civil Rights Act, Chapter 216, for sexual orientation discrimination, gender discrimination and retaliation. Further, Meyer's lawsuit alleged wage discrimination and unequal pay based on gender.
Family Fitness Ordered to Retract Cancellation Policy
by Courtney Cameron July 2017
Family Fitness Center of western Michigan has been issued a cease and desist order regarding its cancellation fees from the Michigan attorney general’s office.
Planet Fitness Privacy Suit Decision Appealed
by Courtney Cameron July 2017
Yvette Cormier, whose Planet Fitness membership was cancelled after she complained about seeing a transgendered person in the club's locker rooms, says she's taking her case to the Michigan Supreme Court.
A Midland County Court dismissed Cormier's suit on Jan. 4, 2016, and the decision was affirmed by the Michigan Court of Appeals on June 1 of this year.
Marlins Seek Seizure of Ticket-Holder's Property
by Paul Steinbach July 2017
As the baseball world turns its attention to Miami for tonight's MLB All-Star Game, the host Marlins organization is looking to seize property of one if its season-ticket holders.
According to court documents obtained by the Miami New Times, the Marlins have sued Kenneth Sack to take a $725,000 property he owns in Oakland Park. It marks the ninth time since 2003 that the Marlins have pursued the unusual legal action (by professional sports standards) of suing their own fans — for reneging on long-term season ticket and suite lease agreements initiated in 2012, the team's first season in its new Little Havana Stadium. Since then, fans, including Sack, have felt victimized by a perceived Marlins bait-and-switch.
In exchange for his four-year commitment to season tickets, Sack was promised a premium parking space, a private entrance and food buffets before and after games. However, fans who made such commitments claim that as soon as the team's fortunes on field went south, the perks either never materialized or fell short of expectations.
ESPN.com notes that the Marlins won a judgment against Sack in January, with the court ruling that Sack owed the team the full $97,200 he owed as part of the ticket agreement. His attorney appealed, saying a heart attack and lengthy hospital stay had caused him to miss key hearings and filings. That civil case remains open.
In March, the Marlins began foreclosure proceedings for Sack's Oakland Park commercial building, arguing that they can seize the property to fulfill the $97,200 he owes them.
"I don't understand why Major League Baseball continues to allow Jeffrey Loria to behave like this," Daniel Rose, an attorney representing another former season-ticket holder being sued by the Marlins, told the New Times. "At the end of the day, what is the motive to go after fans like this? It just shows their greed and a complete lack of respect for their fan base."
Could the CAP Agreement Shake Up College Athletics?
by Jason Scott June 2017
A new kind of agreement between college players and their schools could bring fundamental changes to the balance of power in collegiate athletics.
City Officials Cut the Lights on Youth Baseball Game
by Courtney Cameron April 2017
The Pasadena Pony Baseball League’s first game of the season for youth players aged 13-14 was put on hold Monday when the city’s parks director instructed workers to turn out the lights at Gardner Field.