The last we heard about the Oklahoma State breach-of-contract lawsuit against former offensive line coach Joe Wickline, the two were reportedly nearing a $300,000 settlement. It looks like that agreement may have fallen through though as the Cowboys have added Texas head coach Charlie Strong and quarterback Tyrone Swoopes to their witness list.
Oklahoma State is claiming that Wickline owes the school nearly $600,000 after he left Stillwater to join Charlie Strong in Austin. Wickline disagrees; citing a clause in his contract with the Pokes that let him out of the contract if he left for a promotion to offensive coordinator or presumably higher.
However, there’s some debate whether or not Wickline’s role with the Longhorns was truly a promotion. OSU contends that Wickline took a lateral move, and was never Texas’ actual offensive coordinator.
Oklahoma State’s suspicions of Wickline and the Longhorns trying to pull a fast one don’t seem to be totally unfounded. While Wickline is technically listed as offensive coordinator, Shawn Watson has the title of associate head coach for offense; whatever the heck that is.
The suit has essentially boiled down to one key issue, was Wickline calling the majority of plays, or not.
To make things interesting, NewsOK.com pointed out that there are a couple of odd omissions from Wickline’s contract with Texas. One being that play calling isn’t listed in his job description, and second that there’s no clause stating Texas would pay damages Wickline would owe from a previous contract. According to those NewsOK.com spoke with, both of those points are standard practice to include.
Hurting Wickline’s case even more is that coach Strong promoted Jay Norvell to offensive coordinator after the brutal loss to Notre Dame the first week of the season. In doing so, Strong stated that Norvell would take over play calling from Shawn Watson; making no mention of Wickline in that regard. Strong went on to tell the media that Watson would focus on coaching the quarterbacks, while Wickline continued to focus the offensive line. Although, Coach Strong has already been deposed, and said that Wickline and Watson shared play calling duties.
I’m sure this isn’t the last we’ll hear of this lawsuit as Strong, Swoopes, Watson, Norvell, former athletic director Steve Patterson, and associate AD Arthur Johnson have all been named to Oklahoma State’s witness list. The trail is scheduled for May, 2016.