BATON ROUGE — LSU's lawsuit against former defensive coordinator
John Chavis will be decided by a jury, District Judge Tim Kelley
Rather than throwing out the lawsuit, Kelley said that a jury
should decide whether there was a breach in contract when Chavis left
the school for Texas A&M, The Advocate reported on Oct. 24.
In an attempt to break down the case, a March 5, 2015 SB Nation article said a clause in Chavis' contract allowed him to
terminate his contract without penalty if he left LSU with less than
11 months remaining on his deal.
“His contract expired on Dec. 31, 2015, which means he would be
able to leave for nothing beginning in February,” the SB Nation
article said. “If he left before that 11-month mark, he would owe
LSU $400,000. Since Chavis filed his 30-day notice with the window
expiring after Feb. 1, he should have been fine to walk to Texas A&M
for nothing, but that goes down the drain if he begins working for
the Aggies before then.”
The lawsuit filed by LSU against Chavis argued that Chavis started
working for Texas A&M before the 30-day window was over. KBTX.com
reported that Chavis submitted his notice to LSU on Jan. 5, 2015,
with his last day there to be Feb. 4. However, an article in The Advocate said Chavis was photographed wearing Aggies clothing with recruits that same
month, even though he and Texas A&M claimed he did not begin
working in an official capacity at the school until Feb. 13 of
“[Chavis] should not have been able to be out doing work for
Texas A&M in any capacity before that 30-day window closed on
Feb. 4,” the SB Nation article said. “Recruiting is definitely
within a coach's job description, so when he went to (recruit Kris)
Boyd's home on Jan. 15, he was either in breach of contract and owes
LSU that buyout or he was operating as a Texas A&M booster, which
would be an NCAA violation.”
Chavis has claimed that Texas A&M should pay for the $400,000
buyout, but Texas A&M refuses to do so, according to KBTX.com.
"[Chavis' lead attorney Jill] Craft argued during the hearing
… that Chavis' three-year deal, which stipulated he would owe LSU a
$400,000 buyout if he left the school before Jan. 31, 2015, is void
because of the alterations the university later made to the contract
in 2013," The Advocate
In response, Chavis submitted his own lawsuit against LSU,
claiming that the school owes him more than $200,000 in unpaid
vacation time and academic-performance bonuses, as well as $445,000
in penalty wages.
“His lawsuit was dismissed, but LSU's case continues,” The
Advocate article said.
Craft said she will ask the state’s 1st Circuit Court of Appeal
to review and reverse the judge’s ruling over Chavis’ suit
Furthermore, Craft defended Chavis’ leaving LSU when he did
because he did not sign the new contract, which was changed by LSU in
"He didn't breach it because he didn't sign it," Craft
The LSU Board of Supervisors' lawyer in the case, Harry "Skip"
Philips Jr., said Chavis' contract, as well as the updated contract,
contained the same $500,000 base salary as well as the same start and
end dates. Regardless of any other changes, Chavis' breach of
contract is still valid.
“Philips acknowledged the ‘wording’ of the buyout changed,
but not the ‘substance’ of it,” The Advocate article said.
Phillips further argued that LSU was within the time period that
would require Chavis to pay $400,000.
To date, there has been no date set for the jury trial in this