Six successful, harmonious seasons shared between LSU and its former defensive coordinator John Chavis will end in a courtroom. The two sides sued each other, Chavis first filed suit in Brazos County, Texas, and LSU countered in East Baton Rouge Parish, La. At the center of the dispute is $400,000 the Tigers believe Chavis owes them for a brief of contract.
Texas A&M is also named in Chavis' suit, though it's not a sign of squabble between the man they call Chief and his new employer. Rather, it's a strategy play by Chavis and the Aggies. A&M is fully committed to paying its new defensive coordinator's buyout, though, like Chavis, it doesn't believe it should have to.
It's a stark contrast from the way A&M's rival has handled a very similar situation. Texas co-offensive coordinator Joe Wickline is in the midst of a testy lawsuit with his former employer Oklahoma State, whom believes is due a $600,000 buyout. That one has gotten to the point where Charlie Strong was asked to provide testimony clarifying whether or not Wickline actually calls the Longhorns' plays. Texas athletics director Steve Patterson has stated on multiple occasions the lawsuit is Wickline's problem, not UT's. That's not the case here.
As for this case, this extremely uneducated legal amateur believes LSU has a strong case. Chavis' contract, which expired Dec. 31, 2015, dissolved the buyout if he accepted another job 11 months before its end date. Chavis says he did, evidenced by the fact A&M did not officially announce his hiring until Feb. 13. In reality, Stevie Wonder could see Chavis started working for the Aggies well before that.
Unless the Aggies have a few legal rabbits to pull out of their hat, the guess here is that A&M will pay LSU a sum between zero and 400,000 dollars. And for its part, LSU says if it does not receive buyout money it at least wants A&M to float the costs associated with finding Chief's replacement. There would be your middle ground.
Regardless of the final verdict, it doesn't take a law degree to see Joe Alleva and the LSU administration should never have let it reach this point in the first place.