Texas A&M backs John Chavis in LSU lawsuit
In a lawsuit filed against his former employer, LSU, new Texas A&M defensive coordinator John Chavis claims that he should not owe a $400,000 buyout stemming from the termination of his contract to coach the Tigers.
The lawsuit says that LSU athletic director Joe Alleva sent Chavis a letter on Jan. 2 demanding he pay the money, but Chavis says he gave notice to LSU to terminate his contract on Jan. 5.
Chavis claims under his contract, he was given a right to terminate his employment agreement with LSU without cause with 30 days notice. If there were between zero and 11 months left on the deal, Chavis claimed he would owe nothing to LSU, but if between 11 and 23 months were left, he would owe $400,000 to the university. On January 2, 2015, Chavis claims LSU Director of Athletics Joe Alleva demanded that Chavis pay the university $400,000. On January 5, Chavis says he turned in this 30-day notice to terminate the contract without cause, making his last day February 4.
As a result of this, Chavis says he does not owe $400,000.
Chavis’ current employer, Texas A&M, is also named in the lawsuit. If it is determined that Chavis does owe LSU any money, A&M is required to pay that amount. Due to that requirement, A&M is a defendant in the suit.
Both Chavis' lawyer, Bill Youngkin, and Texas A&M made it clear that there is no dispute between Chavis and the Aggies.
“Coach Chavis could not be happier to be the defensive coordinator at Texas A&M,” Youngkin said in a statement. “He looks forward to the start of spring practice on Monday and is excited about coaching the Aggies this fall. Texas A&M was included in the lawsuit because it is an indispensable party and its inclusion is necessary to resolve the dispute LSU has created.”
A&M stands behind Chavis and says no buyout should be due to LSU.
“There is not a dispute between Coach Chavis and Texas A&M,” said A&M Senior Associate Athletics Director Jason Cook. “The University stands behind its commitment to Coach Chavis to pay any buyout due to LSU. The issue is that Texas A&M disagrees with LSU that any buyout payment is actually due.”
LSU said in a statement that it would seek an “immediate buyout” of Chavis’ lawsuit and filed a countersuit in Baton Rouge.
“The state of Texas is not a proper venue to decide a contractual dispute between Louisiana State University and one of its former coaches, and LSU will pursue immediate dismissal of Chavis' suit,” LSU’s statement read in part. “LSU has also initiated a legal action against Chavis in Baton Rouge, Louisiana to recover the $400,000 buy-out owed to LSU by Chavis. LSU regrets that what is ordinarily a simple matter must be resolved in litigation, but it will vigorously defend the contractual and constitutional rights of the University."
Yahoo Sports first reported that Chavis would be hired at Texas A&M on Dec. 31 after Chavis spent six seasons on Les Miles’ staff at LSU.
Chavis will coach his first practice as Aggies defensive coordinator on Monday.
For more LSU news, visit TigerBait.com.
For more Texas A&M news, visit AggieYell.com.
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Sam Cooper is a contributor for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!