About five weeks before they meet on the football field, LSU and former defensive coordinator and current Texas A&M assistant John Chavis will square off in a Baton Rouge courtroom.
LSU and Chavis are scheduled for a hearing on Oct. 19 regarding Chavis’ claims that LSU defamed the coach by issuing false information to the media. Jill Craft, attorney for Chavis, said the hearing is expected to be pushed back to a later date because of scheduling conflicts.
Chavis left LSU after last season to become the defensive coordinator at Southeastern Conference rival Texas A&M. LSU and A&M meet in Baton Rouge in the regular season finale on Nov. 28.
LSU, in its lawsuit against Chavis, claims the coach owes a $400,000 buyout for breaking his contract early. Chavis and A&M are arguing against that claim, and the coach says LSU owes him more than $200,000 in unpaid vacation wages and academic performance bonuses.
Chavis also contends that LSU defamed him.
“LSU issued false information to various media outlets falsely accusing Chavis of committing NCAA violations, violating his non-existant ‘fiduciary duties’ and violating a non-existent contract,” Chavis says in court documents. “These actions were intentional and the statements were made with malice and/or reckless indifference to the statements’ truth, and were deliberately designed to harm Chavis’ reputation, good name, standing in the community, to interfere with Chavis’ employment in the coaching community and, particularly, at Texas A&M.”
LSU wants a judge during the hearing to dismiss the defamation part of Chavis’ claims on grounds that they are not specific enough. Craft called the hearing “routine” and said she’ll have the opportunity to amend Chavis’ defamation claim to provide more information.
Chavis and LSU filed dueling lawsuit in February – Chavis’ in Texas and LSU’s in Louisiana. The coach’s suit against the school in Texas has been dismissed, and an appeal was not filed.