The Leach Debacle: Are The Rules and Procedures Only a One-Way Street?

Bob StewartContributor IFebruary 2, 2010

If there are rules, regulations, and policies and procedures for employees to follow at  Texas Tech, are the same rules, regulations, and policies and procedures required by law to be followed by the administration at Texas Tech?

The reason I have now brought this to a blog article is due to something that one of our fellow members, Jb Bachtel had written last Friday on December 29 in his article,

The Mike Leach Mistake! The Real Reason He Was Fired!:

"first of all Mike Leach was fired for insubordination because, the allegations were made and the administration owes it to its students, its staff, and its community of fans and alumni to investigate those and any allegations by anyone."

The above statement does have a ring of truth in it. But the following statement is what really caught my attention and piqued my interest was the following.

"...what Coach Leach did was insubordinate and is the sole reason for his firing, and his boss even said the same thing, if he would have just shut up and accepted the suspension and let them all do their jobs, he would still have a job..."

Now allow for me to continue my chain of thought on this whole affair and to tie-in the reason I had included in my headline title: Are The Rules and Procedures Only a One-Way Street?

We have all heard more than enough emotionally driven rhetoric and hyperbole that has surrounded this dark affair. But when you cut through the BS and get down to the matter of the real facts it appears on the surface that the administrators handling this situation committed the cardinal sin of not following verbatim their very own operating policies and procedures.

First off ... This is no private run-by-the-seat-of-your pants common business operation.

Texas Tech University is a public institution given authority to operate by the State Legislature, in Chapter 109.00 of the Texas Education Codes. Texas Tech University is bound by law in Chapter 109.21 of the Texas Education Code, that delegates to the Board of Regents the power and authority to govern, control, and direct the policies of TTU and therefore the Board of Regents is bound by law to operate within all Operating Policies and Procedures outlined in the Texas Tech University Operating Policy and Procedures manual.

With that said:

The basis and reason for dismissal may indeed have been stated as "insubordination" due to Mike Leach's refusal to sign a "guidelines" letter, BUT even if so, the dismissal breached the contract in so far as the following:

  • The university did NOT honor nor provide the allotted time for cure as distinctly expressed in Mike Leach's contract.

That being: "10 business days to cure . . ."

  • In addition, the university's in it’s own Operating Policy and Procedures delineates the procedures that shall be followed yet were not followed by the university to allow for an employee complaint and or grievance to be filed and to be investigated before the notice of dismissal was issued.

Mike Leach’s contract expressly stated and provided for a “10 business days to cure” provision in which time period Mike Leach could/read shall be provided by TTU OP 70.10 Item 2 Procedures, pg 3) to file a complaint/grievance.

In addition, everything that was outlined in the "guidance" agreement letter was already expressed verbatim in the original contract.

Now, in light of the shortened time period between the initial request to sign the “guidelines” agreement initially on December 23 and the resultant “suspension” four working (4) days later on December 28 Mike Leach had no other alternative, recourse or option so as to remain in his active position, and in light of the university's breach of the contract, thereby availed himself to that provided by law (due process) to file the TRO/injunction (December 29) for temporary restraint of the actions by the university due to the university’s action of breach of the expressed provision within the contract and the university's own failure to follow the procedural provisions within the university’s own policies and procedures to provide the employee time to file a complaint.

As to the dismissal:

As to the University’s action of “dismissing” Mike Leach from employment six (6) working days after the refusal to sign agreement (December 30) on the basis and reasoning of the claim of “insubordination” (that being Mike Leach’s refusal to sign this “ guidelines” agreement) and Mike Leach’s action of seeking due process in the court, the University did not provided the time allowed in the contract, nor did the University follow it's own provisions in their policies and procedures for Mike Leach to cure or allow time to file an employee complaint/grievance as provided in university policies and procedures.

So in the face of the above knowledge, the University may have had grounds to claim “insubordination” on the part of Mike Leach, but the University had no grounds to suspend and or dismiss, nor NOT honor all expressed provisions in the contract with Mike Leach.


So now we wait for the Regents to conduct their closed-door "executive committee" meeting on Wednesday and then appearance before the court for both parties to respond on Friday for the update on the current status of the mediation process.

We can only hope that now cooler heads will prevail and that both parties have reached an amicable agreement to put this sordid affair behind them. Hopefully for the better of Texas Tech and the Lubbock community at large. But if one were to read the tea-leaves, it's not looking too positive.

Thanks for the forum ...

Bob Stewart