Former LSU offensive line coach James Cregg is suing the university for breach of contract after the school said he violated NCAA rules and parted ways with him several months ago.

Cregg's lawsuit acknowledges that coach Ed Orgeron provided Cregg a letter June 2 stating LSU's intent to fire him "for cause" because Cregg admitted to an NCAA enforcement official in May to "visiting with and providing gear to a team prospect during the COVID recruiting dead period."

"You also admitted to knowing such contact was impermissible when you engaged in the conduct," the letter stated. "This knowing violation of NCAA rules constitutes cause under ... the Employment Agreement."

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in Baton Rouge state court, says LSU athletic director Scott Woodward provided Cregg a termination letter on June 17 citing the violation of NCAA rules referenced by Orgeron.

Cregg claims in his lawsuit, which seeks damages, that the NCAA "has never issued a ruling or decision that Coach Cregg has committed a Level I or Level II violation, or repeated Level III and/or Level IV violations, of the NCAA bylaws such that ... the Employment Agreement could provide a for cause justification for LSU to terminate coach Cregg's employment,"

According to Cregg's most recent contract with LSU, if he is terminated by LSU without cause, the university must pay him the total remaining base salary and supplemental compensation in monthly installments equal to the amount of time remaining in the term.

"Coach Cregg looks forward to working with LSU in the future to bring this matter to a resolution acceptable for everyone involved," his attorneys, Christopher Whittington and Robert Campbell, said in a statement Thursday.

LSU spokesman Ernie Ballard said the university does not comment on pending litigation.

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Cregg, 47, was entering the final year of his most recent contract with LSU, which was set to pay him about $700,000 starting this year through the contract's expiration on March 31, 2022.

Cregg also claims LSU never gave him a hearing he requested.

Cregg's departure came just over a year after LSU's offensive line was given the Joe Moore Award in the 2019 season for nation's top blocking unit, an award that Cregg mentions in his lawsuit.

The offensive line's production regressed in 2020 — a rocky 5-5 season in which the Tigers were inconsistent on offense and, on defense, gave up its most yards and points per game in school history.

The LSU Board of Supervisors athletic committee earlier this month approved the contract for LSU's new offensive line coach, Brad Davis, who came from the University of Arkansas.

Cregg's lawsuit alleges that LSU "intentionally hired" his replacement before Cregg was terminated.

Cregg had been LSU's offensive line coach since 2018, and he had previously been on staff with Orgeron in stints at Tennessee (2009) and Southern Cal (2010-2013). A 24-year coaching veteran, Cregg also was an assistant offensive line coach for the Oakland Raiders (2007-2008), Denver Broncos (2014-2016) and the Los Angeles Chargers (2017) in the NFL. He was on staff when the Broncos won Super Bowl 50.

LSU's season opener is at UCLA on Sept. 4.


Email Joe Gyan Jr. at jgyan@theadvocate.com.