‘Former’ Pitt coach Mike Haywood wants to meet with school, ‘avoid litigation’

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Former Pitt head coach Michael Haywood and his laywer, Tony Buzbee, have sent a “demand letter” to the University of Pittsburgh asking his former employer to adhere to the buyout of the five-year contract that he signed late last year, or else he will pursue litigation*.

As you’ll recall, Haywood left Miami (OH) to become the head coach at Pitt for a whole 2 1/2 weeks before a domestic violence incident on New Year’s caused the university to abruptly terminate his employment.

And, apparently, they did so without paying Haywood a single dime.

Haywood and Buzbee feel that violates the terms of Haywood’s buyout.

According to a press release from Buzbee’s law firm, Pitt fired Haywood without cause or investigation into the dispute, which as they claim, was later resolved between Haywood and his baby momma.

“In their rush to judgment, Pitt officials did not bother to contact the alleged victim or even the coach himself. I believe the university violated its contract with the coach, the university’s employment procedures, and the Due Process Clause of the U.S. Constitution,” Buzbee stated. “Had Pitt conducted even a cursory investigation, it would have determined that the alleged incident simply did not occur as reported, and the termination would not have occurred. We are exploring other motives for Pitt’s firing of Coach Haywood.”

Pitt reportedly refused to pay Haywood’s buyout at Miami ($300,000) and the buyout of his contract with the Panthers ($750,000 annually for each year unfulfilled — in this case, all of them) if he were to be fired without cause.

Haywood had signed a five-year, $7.5 million contract with Pitt in December, according to Buzbee.

More from Buzbee:

“We’re filing our notice letter with the Pennsylvania Human Rights Commission, the E.E.O.C. and the University of Pittsburgh, which we are required to do before we file suit.

“The coach was fired almost six months ago and we have a six-month deadline to file this paperwork. So this is the precursor to litigation, if there’s going to be litigation.

“The monetary part is important of course, but what’s more important is that Coach Haywood’s name be cleared. What the university did tarnished his reputation. He needs to be coaching and that’s what he wants to do.

“The only demand that we’re really making at this point is ‘hey let’s sit down. You never asked what happened. We offered to tell you what happened. You didn’t want to talk to either the coach or the alleged victim.

” ‘So here are the facts now. Admit you made a mistake and let’s move past this and let Coach Haywood coach some more.’ “

Buzbee added that he will give Pitt “some time to respond” before pursuing any further legal action.

(*note: I’m no fancy-pants lawyer like Mike Florio, but I’m pretty sure litigation in layman’s terms means “sue your butt”)

Illinois boots three players charged with home invasion and robbery

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Illinois head coach Lovie Smith has dismissed three players charged with home invasion and robbery. Offensive linemen Darta Lee and Howard Watkins and tight end Zarrian Holcombe have all been dismissed from the program, according to a statement.

Lee and Holcombe were previously suspended by Smith for violations of team rules. Watkins had also been indefinitely suspended following the initial allegations. All three players claimed the incident that led to the charges was nothing more than an innocent prank, but the authorities and Smith didn’t seem willing to buy that claim.

Each player faces a mandatory prison sentence of 4-15 years on each count against them if found guilty.

Report: Conference USA to air at least 15 football games on Twitter in 2017

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Conference USA is in a position where it needs to think outside the box and look to stay ahead of the curve in a changing TV landscape. It appears to be ready to air games on Twitter in 2017.

A report from The Virginian-Pilot says broadcast company STADIUM will air at least 15 football games involving Conference USA teams this fall. STADIUM is the result of a recent merger between the American Sports Network, 120 Sports and Silver Chalice (which also owns Campus Insiders and the online ACC Digital Network). The ASN had owned the broadcast rights to Conference USA games through the end of the 2017-2018 sports season that will carry over to the STADIUM deal (allowing for Conference USA basketball games to be aired on Twitter as well). It was announced earlier this month STADIUM intended to broadcast Conference USA games on Twitter, but it was unknown how many games might make it to the networking service. STADIUM reportedly has an interest in continuing to air Conference USA contests beyond the next athletic season.

Conference USA still has broadcast deals with ESPN and CBS Sports in effect as well, so don’t expect the premiere matchups in the conference to be aired on Twitter. However, by sharing the games online, Conference USA is hoping to reach a wide-spread audience and have the opportunity to be a trending topic. It could work, as Twitter would make sure the game is given a steady feed to allow for a pleasant viewing experience and fan interaction in real time.

Conference USA saw TV revenue take a big hit over the last year. Last summer, Conference USA’s television revenue reportedly dropped to just $2.8 million for the entire conference following realignment changes. Finding a home on a streaming platform now would be key for the conference’s future stability.

Alabama DC Jeremy Pruitt named son after former Tide linebackers Reuben Foster and Ryan Anderson

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It is not at all uncommon for children born in the state of Alabama to be named after Alabama football legends, but it is not every day you see a child of an Alabama coach receives a name inspired by former Alabama football players.

Defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt announced the birth of his new son, Flynt Anderson-Foster Pruitt, on Twitter. Alabama fans will likely already know the connection to the new child’s name, as used the last names of two former Alabama football players to create the middle name of Anderson-Foster; Ryan Anderson and Reuben Foster.

Maybe this is more common than I’m aware of, but regardless of how often a coach names a child after former players, this is a testament to the relationship the Pruitt family established with both former Alabama linebackers. And now there will be a bond for years to come between the coach and his family and Anderson and Foster.

Helmet sticker to Al.com.

Wisconsin’s season tickets for 100th anniversary of Camp Randall are a thing of beauty

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The Wisconsin Badgers are gearing up for their 100th season playing home football game sin Camp Randall Stadium. As part of the season-long celebration, Wisconsin put some brilliant artistic detail into their season tickets for the 2017 season.

Each ticket to a home Wisconsin game is designed like a retro-style program. These are beautifully done and mimic the style of a program cover from decades past. I’m particularly fond of the program cover for the Purdue game, which features Wisconsin’s Bucky floating in space with a ship with the Purdue logo nearby. Is that a space train? The Band Day program for the game against Florida Atlantic also looks fantastic.

These tickets will surely be must-have collectibles for Wisconsin fans. If Wisconsin wants to make a few extra bucks, then blowing up these images and selling them as posters may be a good decision as well. And I wouldn’t put it past Wisconsin to suit up in a retro-style uniform for at least home game this season in Madison.