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Sunny Golloway's Lawyer Responds to Firing By Auburn University

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This is not going to be pretty no matter what ends up happening.

Wade Rackley / Auburn Athletics

Brandon Marcello of AL.com was the first to release the statement by Golloway's lawyer, John Saxon. It can be seen in the tweet below:

Soooo, let's take a look at this. I'm no lawyer, so perhaps our lawyer members (Tuco and now Peggy (congrats again, Peggy!)) can weigh in a bit more later on the contracts issue, but this is quite the statement. One thing is clear is that it's likely going to get nasty before it gets better. The following is written by someone (Walt) who is definitely NOT a lawyer, and whose knowledge of the law  in actual practice only extends to study as a historian of Constitutional history. Which is to say "pretty much none."

The first paragraph is by far the most interesting. To sum things up, possible violations of NCAA practice regulations are what rumors say led to his dismissal. That is just rumor, though. I'm going to copy the tweets of Kevin Ives (@AUPPL) at the bottom of this article on what he has heard or believes to be the case on the entire Golloway situation from his hiring until yesterday afternoon. He does an excellent job of summarizing what little we, as fans, know.

By the looks of this statement, it appears that Golloway's lawyer is inferring that other coaches, players, players families, SOMEONE, at least - possibly in collusion with Auburn Athletic Department officials - are to blame and that Golloway himself should not have been fired as the result over said reported violations. We know there are plenty of folks who don't like Golloway in the realm of players' families, folks with in the AD, etc.

The statement doesn't directly accuse the Athletic Department of being involved in a conspiratorial effort to fire him, but it does claim that there are individuals who set out to make Golloway a fall guy for violations committed. It says that if mistakes were made, they were "the mistakes of others, who have conspired to make him the victim." Following that with "If it is necessary in the coming days to air these matters, folks from Jay Jacobs on down ... will be the ones wishing Auburn had handled this differently" does seem to imply that he believes his firing was the result of an administration looking for any reason to get rid of him, though. I don't necessarily believe he's far off the mark, there, either.

I find it hard to believe that someone would actually attempt to manufacture a situation to fire a coach, though. If anything, I would bet it happened along the lines of "well, we found out that this did happen, and we believes it gives us strong enough ground to stand on." The folks in the Athletic Department would have to know that a firing "with cause" - which results in zero money from the remainder of the contract and no buyout being paid - would be contested in court. No one walks away from that much money. Especially someone with Golloway's attitude and reputation, who would likely find it hard to get another job in big time college baseball following such a firing. There's no way our Athletic Department is that stupid, right? RIGHT?!? PLEASE, SOMEONE ASSURE ME I'M RIGHT!!!!

The second paragraph is a strange addition to me, but I guess they're trying anything to smear Auburn with that statement. I really don't understand calling out Bruce Pearl as "disgraced." I think you could get a fair number of Auburn fans behind you for attacking the job Jay Jacobs has done as the athletic director, but calling out Pearl is not really one of them. Pearl is a hire that most Auburn folks have been heavily behind and Pearl has conducted himself on and off the court in a manner that reflects great credit on himself and Auburn. He's been a fantastic ambassador for the school.

The final paragraph is quite interesting, though, in a "sure, let's see how that one works out for you" kind of way. They make the statement that there are "good arguments, which we are prepared to test in court, that he actually has a lifetime contract." I don't know much about contract law or state regulations,  but as someone pointed out to me on Twitter, I'm pretty sure Auburn can only legally give a five year contract. Soooo... I don't think that claim is going to stand up. We'll see, though.

Kevin on Twitter pointed to this article on his contract as being the likely area used to argue a "lifetime contract." In particular there's this statement:

For starters, Golloway can add years to his contract by winning games. Finishing with an overall winning record in the first three years of his contract automatically adds another year to the life of the agreement, and in the final two years, Golloway will get an extension if Auburn finishes with a winning SEC record.

Since he didn't finish the first three years of the contract, I don't see how you could really argue that results in a "lifetime contract." Plus, it only adds a single season to the initial contract. It does not state that extensions will be added in perpetuity. Stranger things have been determined in courts, though.

One thing is for sure, and that's that this whole situation is going to result in Auburn being dragged through the mud. Who knows how the school will come out looking on the other side? I think the likelihood is that there were violations, Golloway was somehow turned in for them, and the administration saw it as a reason to pull the trigger. I doubt there was a vast conspiracy. We'll be here to give you our perspective whenever information comes out.

Proven right, given this article.

On that second to last tweet, I don't think Kevin looks like a fool, and nor do most who are familiar with him. Kevin loves Auburn baseball more than anyone I've ever met and wants nothing but the best for everyone who ever puts on that uniform and walks out on Hitchcock Field. On his record as a coach, Golloway was a great hire. It's a shame it's all ended like this.