Federal magistrate orders KU to answer questions in football coach lawsuit

Kansas head coach David Beaty applauds his team during the first half of an NCAA college football game against TCU in Lawrence, Kan., Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
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TOPEKA, Kansas (WIBW) --- After the University of Kansas football coach David Beaty sued Kansas Athletics Inc. alleging he had been fired without cause and without paying him the $3 million he was owed, the KAI will have to answer whether in the past it ever terminated any coach for cause or suspended the coach's pay, a federal magistrate has ruled.

"Defendants are ordered to respond to plaintiffs' (Beaty and DB Sports LLC) discovery requests," U.S. Magistrate Judge Gwynne E. Birzer wrote in a ruling issued last week. Beaty was the head coach at KU from 2014 to 2018.

The judge expects the information to be produced without delay, the order said.

The ruling was issued last week by Birzer, who is based in Wichita.
Beaty contends KAI started "the self-initiated investigation to justify failure to comply with its duty to pay out his contract," the judge wrote.
Beaty says Jeff Long, Chief Executive Officer of Kansas Athletics Inc., terminated Beaty's contract "without cause" on November 4, 2018, but said KAI would pay $3 million remaining on his contract.

But KAI sought "a way to avoid paying the contractual obligation," citing what it said was an investigation by the National Collegiate Athletics Association into whether a "football staff member (not Beaty) violated a NCAA rule during Beaty's tenure."

Severance payments would be suspended until the investigation was finished, KAI said, then KAI would decide whether Beaty's termination would be for cause.

After multiple attempts to get KAI to make the payments it promised, Beaty and DB Sports filed this lawsuit in U.S. District Court in 2019. The plaintiffs are asserting claims of breach of contract and violations of the Kansas Wage Payment Act on behalf of Beaty.

A willful violation of the KWPA would entitle Beaty to statutory penalties.
Beaty filed the lawsuit on March 12, 2019.

The defense admits it terminated Beaty without cause and maintains it didn't know of the allegations leading to the NCAA investigation. KAI's defense is Beaty violated NCAA rules and isn't owed any further money, the judge said.

There have been allegations that an analyst of Beaty provided coaching instruction to players, a violation of a rule dealing with how many people can direct a player.