Judge dismisses former Texas Tech player’s lawsuit against school
LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) _ A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit against Texas Tech by a former defensive lineman who claimed the university exploited his talents while depriving him of an education.
U.S. District Judge Sydney A. Fitzwater, in a ruling signed Monday, rejected Stephen Gaines’ claims that the school, coaches Spike Dykes and Rhudy Maskew and former counselor Ronn Reeger broke federal law by hindering Gaines’ academic growth.
``We have said all along that we did not believe that Mr. Gaines’ claims against Texas Tech belonged in court,″ Texas Tech chancellor John T. Montford said. The school still faces an NCAA investigation that largely appears based on Gaines’ statements.
Marcus Leinart, an associate of Gaines’ attorney, Chris Kalis, said the firm declined to comment Wednesday about the dismissal.
Gaines, who played for the Red Raiders in the 1990, 1992 and 1993 seasons, sued the school in February, claiming racketeering, fraud, forgery and negligence related to his recruitment and time at Texas Tech.
The basis of the lawsuit was that the school lured Gaines while he was a minor, then ignored him as a student while utilizing his football abilities. He sought in excess of $1.25 million.
The judgment also called for Gaines, who never received a college degree and currently works in a Wichita Falls trailer home factory, to refund the defendants’ legal costs, as calculated by the court.
School spokeswoman Margaret Lutherer said that it was unclear how much the school has spent battling the suit. The Associated Press was unable to reach Maskew and Reeger, while Dykes declined to comment.
Fitzwater wrote that the Constitution forbids Gaines’ suit against Texas Tech, a public university, and the three men in their official capacity.
The Dallas judge also said that a knee injury Gaines sustained while in school and his alleged loss of educational opportunities weren’t compensable under federal racketeering laws.
The nine-page ruling gave Gaines 20 days to file an amended racketeering complaint citing the three men outside their official capacity, ``if he can.″
Gaines played five games in his freshman season in 1990, then was sidelined a year by academic problems. The lawsuit alleges that Tech coaches circumvented NCAA rules while getting him reinstated.
The suit further revealed that he was generally a failing student.
Over the past year, Gaines has been the focus of several Houston Chronicle stories in which he has accused Texas Tech and its coaches of forging documents, providing test answers and even wiring him money.