September 03, 2007

Report: Michigan Law Students Plan Suit Against ASU

Breach-of-Contract Suit Charges "ASU Agreed
to Lose by at Least Two Touchdowns"

Plaintiffs: "We Didn't Pay Them $400,000 To Win"
ASU: Suit "Without Merit," "Pathetic."

The Sporting Rant

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- A group of students from the University of Michigan's Law School have announced plans to file a breach-of-contract suit against Appalachian State University, charging the school knew full well it was "supposed to lose by at least two touchdowns."

The news was the latest development following Michigan's humiliating loss to the ASU Mountaineers on Saturday, which saw the storied program fall to the Carolina upstarts, 34-32. The students, reportedly infuriated at learning Michigan had paid $400,000 to the school for its appearance, spent hours examining the contract between the two institutions and said they had found "clear evidence of negligence, breach of contract, and tortious interference with Michigan's business."

"Simply put, we didn't pay these guys $400,000 to come here and win," said Kellow Stragler, a second-year law student at Michigan. "Why, in Section 16, Subsection 4, Paragraph II, Item VI of the contract between Michigan and ASU, it states clearly that the visitors will 'endeavor to play the best football they can during the first half of the Game, while ensuring at the end of the Game they will have lost by at least fourteen (14) points.' Obviously, ASU breached that item of the contract and so we are suing for damages."

Stragler said the suit, which would be filed in Washtenaw County Trial Court later this week, would request compensatory damages of $400,000, punitive damages of $1.2 million and "any other relief the court deems just and proper, including the shaving of ASU Chancellor Kenneth Peacock's head."

Legal experts said the case, although seemingly meritless, might actually have a good chance to succeed.

"Ever since The Citadel beat Arkansas in a stunning upset some years ago, clever schools like Michigan have routinely included such riders in their contracts when scheduling early-season games," said Pace University law professor Steven Poullaire. "True, these riders are often buried deep within the contracts, and the details kept secret from the players and football staff. But it's still very strange that ASU didn't take some form of action to keep its bargain, such as suggesting ASU coach Jerry Moore 'take a break' in the fourth quarter, or 'accidentally' only have eight men on the field during a key play."

Appalachian State University officials, not having seen the lawsuit, declined to comment. However, an unnamed school official said the lawsuit "would be completely without merit."

"Hey, you saw that second half," the official said. "It's not our fault Michigan was so incompetent that it couldn't take advantage of the many opportunities we gave them to right the ship."

The students' suit against ASU isn't the only legal action that may arise from Michigan's loss. Michigan Fans Against Losing, an alumni group, reportedly plans to file a $1 billion lawsuit against the university, citing factors ranging from economic damages to severe emotional distress, pain and suffering, and loss of consortium. That suit is expected to mirror a 2000 lawsuit aggrieved Ohio State University fans filed against that school, which resulted in the firing of embattled coach John Cooper and the distribution of a sweater vest to every Buckeye fan.

In other news, a poll from The Michigan Daily found that 75 percent of respondents wanted head coach Lloyd Carr fired for the debacle, compared to 20 percent who were against firing Carr. The remaning five percent responded to the poll with the "What's football?" answer, but observers agreed these five percent were milksop Easterners whose beliefs were unworthy of further consideration.

"What's football?!" said clearly exasperated U-M senior Ernest Burnham, of Traverse City. "Goddamned nouveau riche Easterners, with their foofy pseudo-sports and wretched prep school educations. I guess they were too busy watching the U.S. Open or something."

"Oh, I say, Willingham, why don't we have some tea and cucumber sandwiches before jaunting off to the lacrosse match? It'll be capital good fun!" said Burnham, affecting a faux English accent. "I mean, what the hell is wrong with these people? Christ."

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at September 3, 2007 06:21 PM | TrackBack
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