In what may be a first of its kind case for Washington State athletics, head football coach Mike Leach is being sued over the dismissal of a former player. Pullman Radio reports Zaire Webb filed suit against Leach, the school, and the Student Athlete Appeals Committee in Whitman County court earlier this week for breach of contract. He’s seeking unspecified damages.
Webb was dismissed from the team last year after he and a teammate, Anthony White, Jr., were arrested at the Pullman WalMart for shoplifting. Charges against Webb were ultimately dropped but he remained off the team and without his scholarship after filing an appeal with the SAAC that was denied.
Webb’s lawsuit alleges that Leach’s application of his “three rails” rules for immediate dismissal from the team (no drugs, no stealing, no assaulting women) is not being applied consistently. The lawsuit cites the cases of Logan Tago (pleaded guilty to assaulting a man and taking his beer) and Grant Porter (currently suspended and facing domestic violence charges for reportedly assaulting his girlfriend in Moscow) who they say violated the aforementioned rules yet remain on the team. It also brings up Daquawn Brown’s misdemeanor assault case from four years ago, claiming he struck a woman but stayed on the team. Brown would ultimately be removed from the roster after the ensuing season and transfer to Fresno State.
Leach wrote a letter to the committee as part of Webb’s appeal, stating his dismissal was the result of a “culmination of violations of team rules” and that “there is no uncertainty where we stand in regard to upholding (the rules).”
What outcomes could result from Webb’s lawsuit are hard to know. Filing a lawsuit against your former coach and school likely indicate Webb has no intention of ever playing at or attending WSU ever again. In theory, Webb could be released from the restriction placed on him through 2020 to not contact any other Pac-12 school or teams on WSU’s schedule through that date. Any monetary compensation would likely be in the form of scholarship money he is losing out on as a result of being dismissed.
WSU did not comment to Pullman Radio on the story so it will be interesting to see where it goes from here. Does the school fight this in court which could lead to discovery or settle with Webb and hope this goes away quietly? We’ll see what tactic they adopt but this likely isn’t the last we hear of this.