Employment contracts in Texas, and elsewhere, often include clauses, which prevent workers from leaving their jobs and going to work for a competitor. Violating non-compete clauses may result in contract disputes. For the coaches of college and professional sports teams, however, this idea can be complicated, as they are regularly hired and fired between teams and seasons.
In 2014, Oklahoma State University reportedly filed a lawsuit for breach of contract against a former assistant coach. According to reports, the coach left his position with OSU to work for The University of Texas at Austin. OSU suggested that his move to Texas was not a promotion with play-calling duties. Rather, the university argued that the coach had made a lateral move, which was a breach of his contract. OSU reportedly sought close to $600,000 from the coach in the lawsuit.
News sources report that the legal action was recently settled. Details regarding the settlement remain unknown to the public at this time. Prior to the settlement, the current Texas coach and former offensive coordinated were reportedly deposed, answering questions about the team’s game-time decisions and strategy sessions. Since its filing, the lawsuit has been a major distraction for the Texas football program. Following a losing season in Texas, the coach was ultimately let go from his position as assistant coach.
In sports and business, the sharing of strategies and plans by former employees can have a major impact. Thus, employers who feel employees have breached their employment contracts may benefit from consulting with an attorney. A legal representative may help them to understand their options, as well as determine the best course of action given the circumstances.
Source: ESPN, “Oklahoma State settles lawsuit against ex-Texas assistant Joe Wickline,” Dec. 29, 2015