© Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports
Jeremy Pruitt has been rather quiet since he was fired for cause by the University of Tennessee on January 18. Until now. Pruitt is back and is ready for war...
The lawyer representing former Tennessee football coach Jeremy Pruitt gave UT an ultimatum this month: Either reach a settlement with Pruitt by Oct. 29, or face a lawsuit that the lawyer claims has the potential to “cripple UT’s athletic programs for years.”
The university intends to stand its ground, with no plans to settle, promising a "vigorous defense" if Pruitt chooses to go to court. A lawsuit is a certainty if there's no settlement, said Michael Lyons, Pruitt’s Texas-based lawyer, in an interview Tuesday with the USA TODAY Network.
"On behalf of my client, I can tell you that he’s not happy that this is the only choice they’ve left him with," Lyons said, "but he’s not going to walk away without getting his day in court.”
"He’s going to file a lawsuit," Lyons added. "They’re not leaving him much choice."
Lyons sent a letter Oct. 7 to UT’s general counsel requesting a meeting to discuss a settlement.
UT fired Pruitt for cause Jan. 18, saying it had uncovered evidence that members of Pruitt's football staff engaged in conduct likely to result in serious NCAA rules violations and Pruitt failed to monitor their actions or promote an atmosphere of compliance. Because UT fired Pruitt for cause, he did not receive any of the $12.6 million buyout that was part of his contract.
Lyons’ letter made no attempt to defend Pruitt, but instead threatened a lawsuit that would aim to embarrass the university and unmask widespread rule-breaking behavior Lyons alleges extends above and beyond Pruitt’s football staff.
Filed Under: Tennessee Sports