Knowing your rights and obligations under a binding contract is of paramount importance – including where you can bring a lawsuit. University of Texas coach Joe Wickline may end up learning this the hard way.
Wickline was hired by the university in 2014 as its offensive line coach and offensive coordinator. At the time, Wickline had been under contract with Oklahoma State. His contract did allow him to leave without penalty, but only under certain conditions. Believing these conditions were not met, Oklahoma State sued Wickline for breaching his contract, seeking $600,000 in damages. Wickline countersued Oklahoma State in Texas court.
The judge in Texas dismissed Wickline’s lawsuit due to a clause in his contract requiring all lawsuits be filed in Payne County, Oklahoma. The lawsuit brought by Oklahoma State for contract damages in Payne County is still pending.
Whether Wickline has met the conditions of his contract remains to be determined, but this case demonstrates the importance of understanding your rights and obligations under any type of contract.
This is not the first time a school has sued a departing coach. Ohio’s Kent State University sued former coach Geno Ford under similar circumstances. The school won a $1.2 million judgment that was recently upheld by the Court of Appeals.