This is incredible stupid. I don't really care that Texas Tech rejected Mike Leach's settlement offer, which is to be expected. Texas Tech is going to swing for the fences until the very end, holding tight while hiding behind a claim of sovereign immunity. Whatever, that's their own deal.
But the letter they sent Leach in response to his settlement request is both a public relations disaster and utterly moronic. We need to talk about this for a moment.
As Mr. Leach well knows, his employment with the university was terminated for cause because of repeated mistreatment of a student-athlete suffering from a brain concussion.
If this is the leg Texas Tech is standing on, it's wobbly, probably has a few fractures, and may have a couple bullet holes as well. The student-athlete is Adam James. His treatment is well-documented. His actions are also well-documented. We don't need to go into further detail.
This behavior, together with his subsequent insubordinate refusal to assist the university in resolving the situation he created, violated the standards of conduct set forth in his employment contract, and with a material breach of his most important contractual obligation -- to assure the fair and responsible treatment of student-athletes in relation to their health, welfare and discipline.
So Leach refused to admit wrongdoing and therefore refused to placate James, and his father, and was fired as a result. Yet, if there was no mistreatment of an athlete with a concussion -- does having the player sit inside violate some standard? -- then there's no breach of contract at all. If Leach said he mistreated James, he would be fired. If he didn't ... well, they fired him anyway. Seems logical.
Which brings us to...
And, to the extent Mr. Leach's proposal turns on notions of equity and fairness, it is also on dubious ground. After materially breaching his contract by repeatedly abusing a student-athlete with a concussion, Mr. Leach refused to even acknowledge his wrongdoing, much less work with the University to ensure a similar event never happened again and to address the concerns of the student-athlete's family.
You know what: go get bent, Texas Tech. The concerns of the student-athlete's family? You mean the family that: complained about James' playing time so much that it caused repeated distractions; (allegedly) hired a public relations firm to feed information to ESPN in an effort to get Leach terminated; (allegedly) orchestrated the release of a manufactured video in an effort to kick-start this who process? Concerns, right? What were the concerns about here? Well being or something more, to use your own words, dubious?
And, again, why in the world would he acknowledge wrongdoing, considering all the circumstances at play here. Why would he then admit wrongdoing, thus handing Texas Tech a gun and begging it to shoot him, by working with the university to put some kind of plan in place for the future?
I wanted this whole thing to go away and hoped for a quiet settlement so it could all be put in the rear-view mirror. I've changed my mind. Sue them all. Don't settle. Sue the pants off Craig James and fight like hell against Texas Tech.
They're all morons and they all deserve each other.
You can read a lot about the case and view a bunch of fun emails and transcripts in Mike Leach's book, Swing Your Sword. I wrote about the book right here.