Monday, March 15, 2010
Leavitt's lawsuit was inevitable
By Brian Bennett
It rates as no surprise that Jim Leavitt is suing South Florida in an effort to recover the millions of dollars that were left on his contract.
The school had to know this was coming when it decided to fire the only coach it ever had on Jan. 8. The Bulls terminated Leavitt's deal with cause because of the allegations that he slapped walk-on player Joel Miller, thereby allowing school officials to avoid paying him for the five years left on his contract.
But of course Leavitt was going to turn to the court system to try to recoup that money. Just as Mike Leach did at Texas Tech. Just as Billy Gillispie did when he was fired as basketball coach at Kentucky. Who would leave that kind of money on the table without a fight?
The interesting thing now will be to see if South Florida decides to contest this in court or merely ponies up for a settlement with Leavitt. If the lawsuit makes it to open court, the whole Miller investigation will once again come under scrutiny.
Both sides would likely try to paint a pattern of behavior by Leavitt on both sides of the fence. That could be uncomfortable for all parties involved, and don't forget that Miller is still a member of the team, as are several witnesses quoted in the initial investigation.
None of this is really something USF wants, as the school would much prefer to move on under new coach Skip Holtz. But it also inevitable in a situation like this.