Thursday October 23rd, 2014

In a heated contract dispute, Oklahoma State University and Texas co-offensive coordinator Joe Wickline are suing each other over Wickline’s new play-calling duties, reports the Austin American-Statesman‎.

Oklahoma State seeks $593,487 in damages, claiming that Wickline breached his contract because he has not been honest about his new position at Texas and is neither the Longhorns' offensive coordinator nor is he calling plays at the school.

According to Wickline’s deal with Oklahoma State, where he was the team’s offensive line coach during the previous nine years, he would be required to pay the school the balance of his contract if he left for a job with another Big 12 team. That clause was dependent on Wickline becoming an offensive coordinator with play calling duties. If so, he would be free of that financial obligation.

Wickline filed a countersuit this week, insisting that he is indeed calling plays for the Texas offense and has not been fully released from his previous coaching contract with Oklahoma State. He was hired by Texas on Jan. 15 as the team’s offensive coordinator and offensive line coach, with new coach Charlie Strong saying that Wickline would call plays.

Two months later, Strong hired his former offensive coordinator at Louisville, Shawn Watson, and installed him as an offensive assistant head coach and quarterbacks coach. Strong said then that Watson and Wickline would share the play-calling responsibilities.

“Upon information and belief, Wickline is neither the offensive coordinator, nor does he have play calling duties,” the Oklahoma State lawsuit says. “Instead, he is an assistant coach in charge of the offensive line, which is a lateral move from Wickline’s position at OSU and one that does not fall within the exception to pay liquidated damages.”

Texas has never said if Wickline is in fact calling plays, and according to the Austin American-Statesman, Texas beat writers refer to Watson as the team’s play caller. 

Oklahoma State athletic director Mike Holder sent a letter to Texas on March 24 demanding that Wickline pay the almost $600,000 owed for breach of contract.

According to the lawsuit, Holder sent another letter in April asking for the amount owed plus interest, attorney’s fees and court costs.  Again, Wickline said he was calling plays for Texas. 

A third letter by Oklahoma State was sent in May, saying that Wickline lied about his position with Texas and that the Longhorns gave him “the misleading title of offensive coordinator.”

Wickline's lawsuit responds that Oklahoma State's claims are "baseless and its sole purpose is to interfere with coach Wickline’s ongoing employment relationship with UT and the UT contract.”

Oklahoma State and Texas square off in Stillwater on Nov. 15.

- Scooby Axson

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