Thursday’s courtroom scorecard: Joe Wickline 0, Oklahoma State’s attorneys 0.
Neither side prevailed in twin hearings playing out in a Travis County courtroom and in Payne County, Okla., on Thursday regarding the six-figure payment OSU is seeking from its former offensive line coach who now works at Texas.
In Oklahoma, attorneys representing Wickline tried to get a lawsuit brought by Oklahoma State dismissed but the motion was denied. OSU officials are suing Wickline, claiming he did not get a promotion and did not call plays this past season with the Longhorns.
According to Wickline’s OSU contract, he would be excused from paying any damages if he received a promotion to offensive coordinator “with play-calling duties.” Wickline is UT’s offensive coordinator, but it’s widely believed that quarterback Shawn Watson calls most of the plays.
OSU is seeking almost $600,000 in damages, which is more than Wickline made this past season at Texas.
“As that case proceeds in Oklahoma, the questions will be asked, the documents will be gathered and the roles of all the individuals and entities will get sorted out,” said Sean Breen, an Austin attorney representing Oklahoma State. “I guarantee you that.”
Breen was in a Travis County courtroom arguing that Wickline’s countersuit against OSU should be dismissed for different legal reasons. Wickline’s OSU contract stated that any disputes would be argued in an Oklahoma court. In a previous legal brief, Wickline’s Austin attorneys argued that he wouldn’t get a fair trial in Payne County.
Breen said both sides are expecting a decision from the Travis County judge possibly by early January.
“It’s befuddling why the University of Texas won’t pay Joe Wickline’s buyout, because he’s an extremely talented person,” Breen said. “You wouldn’t think they would treat him that way.”
Texas officials have maintained from the beginning that this was an issue between Wickline and OSU. The American-Statesmen reported in October there is no indemnification language in the Texas contract that would protect Wickline financially from a lawsuit by Oklahoma State.
In late October, Texas coach Charlie Strong didn’t seem concerned about the situation. “We’ll let that settle, and it’s gonna settle the right way,” he said.
Texas athletic director Steve Patterson said at the time, “It’s a dispute that looks like the courts will settle. Let the attorneys make their presentations and see where it falls out.”