‘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”)

NCAA tables discussions on limiting staff size

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It is going to take some more time to dive deep into the pros and cons of limiting the size of a football staff before the NCAA Division 1 Council decides what to do. In a statement released on Wednesday, the Division 1 Council has decided to table a legislative proposal focusing on setting parameters on the size of a football staff, meaning this topic should pop up again a year from now.

The proposal aims to cap the size of any football staff at 30 people and determine who may be eligible to participate in on-campus recruiting efforts. Those assigned recruiting duties, including head and assistant coaches, would then be required to pass an annual test on recruiting practices. At this time, however, there appears to be too much confusion and uncertainty about how the proposal would impact programs now. With so many questions about the proposal, it was best to put this one on the table and spend the next year examining how it could impact college football programs.

“I went to the American Football Coaches Association meeting, and there were a lot of questions about how this was going to work,” Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby, the chair of the oversight committee, said in a release shared by the NCAA. “The coaches wanted to know who was going to be included, how they would be certified and who was exempted.”

This topic has already been floating out there since last spring, and with recent adjustments from the NCAA to allow for a 10th full-time assistant coach, it appears this will be the next step in the evolution of ruling how large a football staff can be.

Miami’s home winning streak is officially over after Orange Bowl loss

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The Miami Hurricanes opened the new year with a loss in the Orange Bowl in their home stadium, but the Hurricanes marked the bowl game down in their records as a neutral site game. Not so fast, says the NCAA. That loss to the Badgers will go down as a home loss for the Hurricanes.

Because the NCAA officially records the Orange Bowl as a home game for Miami any time the Hurricanes happen to play in the bowl game hosted in their home stadium, the wins and losses are reflected on Miami’s home record. This is true for any team playing a bowl game in their home stadium, including any time UCLA appears in the Rose Bowl or San Diego State in the Holiday Bowl or Poinsettia Bowl.

Prior to losing to Wisconsin in the Orange Bowl this past season, Miami was riding nine-game winning streak in Hard Rock Stadium dating back to November 5, 2016. Miami will get a chance to hit the reset button on their home winning streak on September 8 with a home game against Savannah State.

Report: LSU to add former RB Kevin Faulk to staff if SEC gives the green light

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Former LSU running back Kevin Faulk could be set to return to the Tigers program in a new role if the SEC will allow it. According to a report from The Advocate, Faulk is being lined up to join the LSU football support staff, but his addition must be thoroughly vetted first.

Because Faulk is a high school coach, LSU and the SEC must be certain he has no direct ties to any LSU football players on the roster. This is to ensure the staff change complies with a new NCAA rule prohibiting schools from hiring high school coaches for a two-year period when any player from that associated high school enrolls at the university. As long as there are no players on LSU’s roster with any ties to Faulk’s high school coaching within the past two years, the staff change should become official.

Having Faulk associated with the program would be good to see considering how much Faulk meant to LSU during his college career. Faulk rushed for a school-record 4,557 yards and 46 rushing touchdowns. Both are records that stand today despite some extremely talented running backs over the years. Since Faulk’s final season at LSU in 1998, Leonard Fournette has come the closest to Faulk’s career rushing total with 3,830 yards in three years. Fournette is also the closest to Faulk since Faulk played to the school record for career rushing touchdowns, with 40.

Supposing the staff addition does go through, Faulk will not be involved with any off-campus recruiting efforts or on-field coaching assignments, but he will assist with player development.

Florida bill seeks to allow UCF national championship license plates

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You’re not truly a fan of a team that has won a national championship until you can brandish the honor on the license plate to your car. In Florida, that may become a reality soon enough for UCF fans as the ongoing claim to a national championship continues to sweep through the state.

A new bill in the state of Florida introduced to the state legislature would allow for the creation and printing of Florida license plates in UCF colors and a UCF logo with the words “National Champions” inscribed across the bottom.

There is a lot of legal wording in the house bill, as one should expect, but the bill essentially boils down to be able to purchase a UCF national championship license plate. You can find those details on page seven of the 23-page bill.

UCF has already staked a claim at being the national champion for the 2017 college football season after completing the nation’s only undefeated season and beating an Auburn team that defeated both College Football Playoff national championship game participants, Georgia and Alabama. The Knights have since been honored with a championship parade in Disney World.