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Casual college football fans (like me) probably never heard of Mike Leach before the recent controversy erupting at Texas Tech. What we do know is that major college sports, at the end of the day, comes down to money. Successful programs become self-reinforcing, attracting players, create a 'winning environment', and put fannies in the seats, with the attendant dollars and post-season bonus money proportionate to bowl status.
What we have is a paucity of 'facts' and a plethora of spin. We know that Leach has achieved considerable success at Texas Tech, including a tenth consecutive bowl appearance and a pair of berths in the Cotton Bowl. We know that Adam James (son of former New England Patriot Craig James) sustained an injury that forced him out of practice. Then the facts break down...and the spin ramps up.
The James claim seems to revolve around unreasonable punishment, although we simply don't know the details. Does it matter whether the student was locked in a closet, a shed, or a luxury apartment? Was he confined there against his will or did his injury impair his competence?
The worst case scenario (not happening, even in a world run by lawyers) is a claim of false imprisonment. The Texas penal code statute follows.
Sec. 20.02. UNLAWFUL RESTRAINT. (a) A person commits an offense if he intentionally or knowingly restrains another person. (b) It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under this section that: (1) the person restrained was a child younger than 14 years of age; (2) the actor was a relative of the child; and (3) the actor's sole intent was to assume lawful control of the child. (c) [amended 9/1/97] An offense under this section is a Class B misdemeanor unless: (1) the person restrained was a child younger than 14 years of age, in which event the offense is a Class A misdemeanor; or (2) the actor recklessly exposes the victim to a substantial risk of serious bodily injury, in which event it is a felony of the third degree. (d) It is no offense to detain or move another under this section when it is for the purpose of effecting a lawful arrest or detaining an individual lawfully arrested. Before 9/1/97 Sec. 20.02 was named "False Imprisionment" and (c) provided: (c) An offense under this section is a Class B misdemeanor unless the actor recklessly exposes the victim to a substantial risk of serious bodily injury, in which event it is a felony of the third degree.
Let's face it, it can't get THAT crazy. But now we're seeing the pushback, the trotting out of the "Coach is a good guy" and "Adam James is a %$#&" arguments, which really aren't relevant.
Texas Tech elects to suspend the coach while conducting an investigation, and the latest news on the Internet is that Leach plans to sue Texas Tech. Can it get crazier than this? It reminds me of the old joke about "what is the difference between the Boy Scouts and the military?" Adult supervision.
We don't know the facts, we're seeing plenty of friction, and when the final bell rings, will it be the Benjamins and not about right or wrong, common sense, leadership, or sportsmanship? Can anyone come out unsullied by this? Are you ready for some political football?