Oklahoma State settles lawsuit against ex-Texas assistant
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Oklahoma State and former Texas assistant Joe Wickline settled a breach-of-contract lawsuit Tuesday, a move that lets Longhorns coach Charlie Strong and quarterback Tyrone Swoopes avoid having to testify in an Oklahoma courtroom about who called the plays for Texas.
Oklahoma State sued Wickline — who was fired by Texas on Dec. 12 — in 2014 for nearly $600,000, arguing he made a lateral move to Texas and didn’t take a promotion with “play-calling duties” as stated in his previous contract. The lawsuit was settled for $250,000, Oklahoma State spokesman Gary Shutt said.
“We are glad to reach a settlement and wish Coach Wickline the best,” Shutt said.
A case that might have been a minor distraction to a coaching staff turned into a major headache for Texas.
Oklahoma State forced Strong, Wickline and former Texas offensive coordinator Shawn Watson into lengthy depositions that put them through hours of questioning about closed-door strategy sessions and game-time decisions.
And more was coming. Oklahoma State had wanted more depositions from Strong, additional staff, former Texas athletic director Steve Patterson, and even Swoopes, the Longhorns starting quarterback for 2014 who will be battling for the starting job again in 2016.
Oklahoma State also put Strong and Swoopes on their trial witness list for a case that was scheduled for a Payne County courtroom in mid-2016. The Texas coach and quarterback testifying in an Oklahoma courtroom had the potential of turning an intensifying Big 12 rivalry into a circus.
Patterson, who was forced to resign in September, had insisted Texas played no role in the case and that the dispute was between Oklahoma State and its former employee Wickline. Texas fans had clamored for Texas to help Wickline settled the case.
Oklahoma State had agreed not to pursue new depositions until after the 2015 football season, but had recently contacted Texas to about resuming testimony.
Wickline and Watson were both dismissed as Strong revamped his offensive staff after a 5-7 season and Texas had one of the worst offenses in the Big 12. Texas finished 5-7, Strong’s second consecutive losing season.