I have written of the legal options that Greg Schiano has against UT, and, more importantly, other persons involved in the debacle. (See here here)
“The [contractual] relations protected against intentional interference by the rule stated in[the Tennessee statute] include any prospective contractual relations”
So who are the likely culprits?
Sports Illustrated reported early on:
SI has learned there is increasing pressure from among the program’s big-money boosters to force out athletic director John Currie.
Note they are “big-money;” therefore, its may be worth Schiano’s time pursuing. (Seemingly, the biggest booster, and father of current TN Governor Bill Haslam, Big Jim Haslam encouraged the Schiano hire. Schiano was the Haslam family’s hand picked choice.)
But, what kind of “pressure.” Could the pressure be described as defamation against Schiano? (This seems very likely considering the hype about the Penn State allegation.) I can expect there were treats made. Was duress or undue influence exercised over over Currie or other administration officials? Did these booster misuse of inside or confidential information? Were these boosters in some type of fiduciary relationship with the University? If any of these are so, Schiano has a cause of action against each booster and politician. Tennessee appellate courts have specifically held that: violence, threats or intimidation, bribery, unfounded litigation, fraud, misrepresentation or deceit, defamation, duress, undue influence, misuse of inside or confidential information, or breach of a fiduciary relationship” are types actions to satisfy the element of the tort.
There were also politicians publicly involved in the action. Per Knoxville Times,
But the state’s politicians — including major candidates for governor — already were speaking out against the public university’s potential hire of the Ohio State defensive coordinator before USA TODAY and others reported a deal would not come to be after intense backlash. Four of the five top-tier Republican candidates to succeed Gov. Bill Haslam were quick to weigh in Sunday. U.S. Rep. Diane Black, House Speaker Beth Harwell, Williamson County businessman Bill Lee and former state Sen. Mae Beavers all took to Twitter to express their displeasure that the University of Tennessee was on the verge of
Did they do more that merely tweet their opinions? One state representative:
“The head football coach at the University of Tennessee is the highest-paid state employee,” said Jeremy Faison, a state representative. “They’re the face of our state. We don’t need a man who has that type of potential reproach in their life as the highest-paid state employee. It’s egregious to the people and it’s wrong to the taxpayers.”
“Thank you to our community for stepping up and standing for our traditional, commons sense TN Values! #HigherStandards” tweeted Jason Zachary, a state representative.
Earlier, Representative Zachary seemingly admits (by tweet) to interfering in this contract process:
I have reached out to @John_Currie and others in administration at UT expressing that WE as a TN Community do not approve of Schiano. #higherstandards
— Rep. Jason Zachary (@JasonZacharyTN) November 26, 2017