Days before Texas offensive coordinator Joe Wickline filed a lawsuit in Travis County, Oklahoma State University athletic officials filed one of their own in Payne County.
According to a legal document filed by OSU, “Wickline had special, exceptional, and unique knowledge, skill, and ability as a football coach.” He was widely considered one of the best offensive line coaches in the nation when hired away by Texas’ Charlie Strong.
But Wickline’s OSU contract, which ran through 2016, stated that he owed the balance of his contract if he accepted a job at another Big 12 school.
Wickline could be released from paying any damages if he became an offensive coordinator “with play-calling duties” elsewhere. That’s how Texas billed Wickline’s hire in January, stating that he would hold that title and call plays.
“Upon information and belief, Wickline is neither the offensive coordinator, nor does he have play calling duties,” the OSU lawsuit states. “Instead, he is an assistant coach in charge of the offensive line, which is a lateral move from Wickline’s position at OSU and one that does not fall within the exception to pay liquidated damages.”
All Austin-based media refer to Texas quarterbacks coach Shawn Watson as the team’s play caller. Texas officials have never disputed this. Watson, not Wickline, is the one who meets with reporters every week to discuss the offense’s ups and downs with quarterback Tyrone Swoopes. Wickline has given only one interview since the season began. He could not be reached for comment late Wednesday.
The OSU lawsuit goes on to detail how OSU officials sent a letter to UT asking Wickline to pay the damages, which the school calculates to be $593,478.