Big 12: David Backus

Leach subpoena backfires

March, 26, 2010
3/26/10
1:30
PM ET
Texas Tech wasn't pleased when former coach Mike Leach's legal team requested information from the Frenship Independent School District. In doing so, Leach's team hoped to uncover information about new coach Tommy Tuberville, and whether or not he looked into enrolling his children before Leach was fired.

Now, the move looks like it has backfired.

Frenship says they pored over 17,000 pages of records and the bill for doing so came to a hefty $9,800. Leach's lawyer, Ted Liggett, also said his office received about 200 pages of documents, and they aren't pleased about that, either. Really, all Liggett wanted was a one-word answer to the reason they filed the subpoena in the first place.

“I’ve never seen a non-party (not directly involved in the lawsuit) ask for costs in this manner,” Liggett told the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. “They were contacted before Mike was fired, or they weren’t. That’s all we want to know.”

Also being contested are records that contain sensitive information protected by federal privacy laws, but clearly Liggett has little interest in those. So I imagine he's pretty frustrated with the situation.

But the real comedy in the case comes later. Tuberville's arrival (or, really, that of any football coach in any college town) was big news. So was Leach leaving. And people did what people do: They talked. But teachers and administrators in the district did it by e-mail, and those e-mails make up a bulk of the 17,000 pages the district had to review.

“There are apparently many employees who are Texas Tech fans,” said David Backus, the attorney for the school district.

Those e-mails under review included any time an employee forwarded or was forwarded an article from anywhere about Tuberville, as well as releases from the university to fans on listservs.

Now, I can't blame Leach's team for trying to subpoena those records to begin with. Too intrusive or not, the move made sense, and if they uncover what they want, I imagine it would help their case quite a bit.

But I can't imagine they envisioned the move blowing up in their faces the way it did.

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