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Leavitt files lawsuit against USF

Posted Mar 15, 2010 by Scott Carter

Updated Mar 15, 2010 at 09:57 AM

Former USF football coach Jim Leavitt filed a lawsuit this morning against USF and the USF Foundation.

Leavitt, who filed the lawsuit in Hillsborough County Circuit Court, is seeking restitution for what his attorneys claim is a “breach of written contractual promises made to Coach Leavitt in March 2008, as well as for accountability by USF for refusal to comply with the Florida Public Records laws.’‘

Leavitt was fired by the university on Jan. 8 following a four-week investigation into an alleged incident between Leavitt and walk-on running back Joel Miller during halftime of the Nov. 21 game against Louisville. The investigation concluded Leavitt grabbed Miller by the throat and struck him in the face, prompting USF to fire Leavitt with cause.

Leavitt has maintained his innocence throughout and continues to work to clear his name and recoup more than $7 million remaining on the contract he signed in March 2008.

In a statement released Monday by Wil Florin, Leavitt’s attorney, the suit claims that USF “illegally fired Coach Leavitt through a termination process ignited by hearsay allegations.  USF publicly stated that Coach Leavitt’s termination was based on a ‘fair,’ ‘thorough’ and ‘professional’ process.  To the contrary, the process was biased, flawed and legally unsupportable.’‘

The statement adds that “USF publicly announced that ‘no credible witnesses’ supported Coach Leavitt’s account.  This announcement was made despite USF’s actual knowledge that Coach Leavitt’s account was supported by law enforcement, a coach and several players.  The USF assertion is insulting to those very credible eyewitnesses.’‘

Florin says that USF “has repeatedly refused to provide copies of any witness statements given during the review process.  In doing so, USF violated the written contract terms as well as the Public Records Laws of the State of Florida and the Florida Constitution.  In refusing disclosure, USF is either hiding evidence favorable to Coach Leavitt or has destroyed that evidence to avoid being confronted with it.’‘

Six days after firing Leavitt, USF replaced former East Carolina coach Skip Holtz. Holtz finally gets a look at his new team on the field Tuesday when the Bulls open spring practice.

Reader Comments

Por (rizman) on March 15, 2010 (Suggest removal)

Good reporting.  Thanks

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Por (Dan Alatorre) on March 16, 2010 (Suggest removal)

I wonder how big a check USF will end up writing to Leavitt?

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