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Carl Pelini suing former assistant for reporting alleged drug use



On Oct. 30, 2013, Carl Pelini resigned as head coach at Florida Atlantic when he and defensive coordinator Pete Rekstis admitted using illegal drugs. “They tendered their resignations to me late this morning after I confronted both with reports relating to their use of illegal drugs,” FAU athletics director Pat Chun said at the time. “They admitted to wrongdoings and they resigned on the spot.”

Pelini rescinded his resignation a week later, but was fired with cause on Nov. 26 for failure to monitor his staff. As part of the parting agreement, Pelini was barred from the ability to sue FAU. So now he's going after the guy who turned him in.

In a story provided to Sports Illustrated Wednesday, Pelini is seeking unspecified damages (more than $25,000 is all that is stated) from former FAU defensive line coach Matt Edwards. Pelini, who spent the 2014 season teaching English composition at Southeast Community College in Lincoln, Neb., said he wanted to wait until finding a new coaching job before moving forward with the lawsuit. He was hired earlier this month on his brother Bo's staff at Youngstown State as the Penguins' defensive line coach. (Rekstis, who spent the 2014 season as Rhode Island's defensive coordinator and was mentioned as a candidate for the Youngstown State head job, has admitted his mistakes and moved on with his life.)

"I wanted to be hirable again," Pelini told SI as to why he waited until now to file the suit. "I wanted to allow Youngstown State or any perspective employer to have some input on how I went forward. Different employers may have looked at it differently. I wanted to make sure this was approved before I went forward.”

As for the basis for the suit, Pelini alleges Edwards turned him in as retribution after Pelini confronted him about an inappropriate relationship with a South Florida relator close to the FAU program named Allison Stewart. Stewart, in text message to SI denied having an affair with Edwards & further reiterated to SI that she witnessed Pelini using drugs.

What will this suit actually accomplish? Pelini's official record states he wasn't fired for drug use, so this suit is an attempt to win in the court of public opinion. And considering news of the suit will spark another round of stories (including this one) linking "Carl Pelini" to "drug use" and "Youngstown State" it's hard to see this move as a wise move in the larger picture. But it wouldn't be the first time a Pelini has lashed out in spite of his better interest.