The news that Texas Tech Head Football Coach Tommy Tuberville is being sued for fraud is unwelcome news for him and the university. Basically the plaintiffs in this case are alleging that Coach Tuberville along with John David Stroud defrauded investors out of at least 1.7 million dollars. Coach Tuberville may be completely innocent of any wrong doing. The problem is that it may not matter. The country does not have much sympathy or patient with anyone accusing of being one of the fat cats that swindle people out of money.
Does this suit have any bearing on Coach Tuberville’s employment with Texas Tech? Probably not unless the government actually brings some sort of charges, which is possible. No doubt the government will at least take a look at this situation. There is also an issue of fairness. If a student athlete were accused of stealing something, they would likely be off the team. The coach is being accused of defrauding people out of 1.7 million dollars. It will be very hard for the university to talk about ethics and moral standards if this suit gets much further than it already has.
This continues a downward spiral for the university athletic program. The athletic program seems to be in complete disarray over the past two years. No doubt some people are already talking about “the curse of the pirate”. There is just a shady feel to the Tech athletic program. The athletic director appears to have gotten out of Miami one step ahead of the law, or the NCAA in this case. The Football coach is now being accused of fraud and the basketball coach does not have the squeakiest of clean pasts.
Texas Tech now has the feel of an out of control athletic program. Coach Tuberville should be given a chance to explain his side of things before people pass judgment. However, this is big time college athletics where perception is everything. He may not get the chance for this to completely play out. Texas Tech should at least give him as much a chance to explain these accusations as it gave the last football coach. Oh wait, using the Mike Leach standard would result in Tuberville being fired before the week was over.
For the record and in the interest of fairness, here is the statement that Coach Tuberville released through his attorney on Tuesday:
Coach Tuberville was surprised to learn of the pending lawsuit involving TS Capital Partners, LLC and he categorically denies any wrongdoing which has been attributed to him in this suit. He has never even met or spoken with most of the plaintiffs and he is acquainted minimally with the few other plaintiffs only because they were employees at TS Capital Partners, LLC. Coach Tuberville absolutely never solicited any investment from any of these or other individuals. It is important to note that Coach Tuberville himself invested significant funds and has never received any return from his own investment. Accordingly, he is hopeful the plaintiffs, who were employees, can help to provide answers as to what transpired. Coach Tuberville has cooperated with every regulatory inquiry and not a single one has asserted that he was involved in any wrongdoing. He intends to vigorously defend the allegations made against him and is confident he will be exonerated.