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UT’s defensive coordinator hit with breach of contract suit

On Behalf of | Jul 13, 2017 | Business & Commercial Litigation

It may seem hard to believe, but we are now less than two months away from the start of college football. Indeed, most people here in Tennessee have already circled September 4 on their calendars, as it marks the first game of the 2017 season for the Volunteers, who will take on Georgia Tech in newly opened Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Interestingly enough, a key member of the Volunteers’ coaching staff is currently engaged in a bitter battle with a rival football powerhouse in a decidedly non-gridiron setting.  

UT’s defensive coordinator Bob Shoop, who came to the Vols from Penn State University back in January 2016, was hit with a breach of contract lawsuit by his former employer earlier this summer.

According to the lawsuit, which was moved to a federal court in Pennsylvania just last week, a clause in Shoop’s contract dictated that if he resigned from his position as defensive coordinator prior to February 15, 2018, he had to pay Penn State 50 percent of his base pay for the remainder of his contract.

Based on this provision and the amount of time remaining on his contract when he departed for UT, the lawsuit claims that Shoop owes Penn State $891,856.

Furthermore, it outlines how Shoop, whose Nittany Lion defense was ranked second in the nation in 2014, has not made any payments toward this amount and, through his attorneys, has indicated an unwillingness to do so.

It’s worth noting that Shoop’s contract with UT, which was included in court records, promises him a base pay of $245,000 as well as supplemental pay of $905,000. More significantly, it includes a provision dictating that he “is solely responsible for satisfying any buyout or liquidation damages provision(s) between [himself] and Pennsylvania State University and/or other prior institutions.”

It will be interesting to see 1) whether this matter is resolved prior to the start of the season and 2) the impact, if any, it has on college football contracts going forward.

Stay tuned for updates …

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