Former LSU offensive line coach James Cregg sued the university after he was fired for allegedly violating NCAA rules. Now he's asking a judge to order LSU to release records about an NCAA probe into alleged recruiting violations under head men's basketball coach Will Wade.

Cregg and his attorneys claim those records will demonstrate that LSU treated Cregg "drastically different" than Wade.

Cregg argues the NCAA never issued a ruling that he violated NCAA rules.

"At issue in the instant litigation is not only LSU's decision to terminate Coach Cregg's employment based on NCAA violations in the absence of the NCAA issuing any violation determination," Cregg's lawyers, Chris Whittington and Robb Campbell, state in a motion to compel the release of documents by LSU.

"Coach Cregg alleges other members of LSU's Athletic Department are actively being investigated for NCAA violations, yet LSU has not terminated their employment," Whittington and Campbell wrote.

The lawyers contend that LSU's conduct toward Cregg "was intentional."

The motion to compel says some of LSU's objections and refusal to respond to several requests for documents are insufficient and without merit.

State District Judge Wilson Fields has scheduled a hearing on Cregg's motion for Jan. 31.

"As a public institution, LSU should be forced to be transparent as it relates to hiring and firing practices within its Athletic Department," Campbell said Wednesday in a written statement.

"Coach Cregg's lawsuit will bring into the public view LSU's arbitrary practice of treating employees within the Athletic Department differently," he added. "We will also find out who is making the decisions to hire and fire coaches — the athletic director or the booster's that sink money into the program."

The NCAA has investigated alleged recruiting violations under Wade since 2018. After Yahoo Sports published excerpts from a conversation wiretapped by the FBI between Wade and now-convicted middleman Christian Dawkins, in which Wade described a "strong-ass offer” to a recruit, Wade initially declined to meet with LSU and NCAA officials. The decision led to an indefinite suspension that lasted 37 days in 2019. Wade eventually spoke with the groups.

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As part of his reinstatement, Wade forfeited $250,000 in incentives for the 2018-19 season. LSU also added a clause to Wade’s contract that allows the school to fire him for cause if it receives a notice of allegations for either a Level 1 or Level 2 violation.

Cregg sued the LSU Board of Supervisors in August for breach of contract stemming from his June termination. He had been the team's offensive line coach since 2018.

LSU has asked Fields to dismiss the lawsuit. The university says it did not violate Cregg's contract.

"Plaintiff's alleged damages were caused solely by his own actions and/or inactions and not by any action of the Defendant," LSU's lawyers, Leo Hamilton, Christine Keenan and Elizabeth Bailly Bloch, have argued in a court filing.

Cregg's lawsuit acknowledged that then-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 says LSU athletic director Scott Woodward provided Cregg a termination letter on June 17, citing the violation of NCAA rules referenced by Orgeron.

Cregg's most recent contract with LSU stated that, 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.

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

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

Orgeron and LSU agreed to part ways at the end of this season, less than two years after he led the school to a national championship with one of the greatest teams in college football history.


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