The Coogs Stuff Michael Young
The University of Houston has been quiet since the Michael Young divorce from the basketball program at the end of May. Young accused the school of NCAA violations. His son Joseph, the basketball team's leading scorer, quit and has transferred to Oregon. Allegations of physical threats against Joseph have been made. And last week, Michael Young filed a conspiracy-filled lawsuit against the school.
UH probably won't be giving away any more of these.
The athletic department has done the legally smart thing, but the PR-bad thing, and has remained silent. There have been numerous "no comments" to questions regarding the allegations. There has been the boilerplate about fighting the allegations in court. But the school would not budge and say more until Wednesday, when the athletic department released a three-paragraph statement rebutting Young's allegations. It said there was no unlawful conduct, no conduct that would violate NCAA rules or regulations. It stated that the basketball program had decided to move in a different direction and that it was decided that Young's involvement with the basketball program was no longer required.
"To provide continuity for Young, the University decided to offer him a new contract that would have him transition into new community relations duties within the Athletic Department," the press release said. "The new contract gave Young a year at his same salary."
The Cougars stated they were transferring Young to a community relations role and that the position would last for one year, at his current salary, while he was looking for another position. The school further denied the allegations about Young being told to sit at home, not perform work and still collect a paycheck. The school also stated that, since Young has refused to perform the required duties under the contract, it exercised the termination provision of the contract on June 17, 2013.
"Young's arrangement in his new community relations role was reviewed by the Athletic Department's compliance office, as well as the Office of the General Counsel, to ensure it was in compliance with applicable laws and NCAA bylaws," states the press release. "The University has been transparent, and its actions have been appropriate. We are disheartened and saddened to hear these allegations we believe are baseless and untrue. We do not intend to comment further except to state we look forward to defending our actions in court."
What the university has yet to do, however, is file its answer to Young's lawsuit, something the school doesn't need to do until the end of the month. The result is that this continued PR war between the university and the former legend will continue, and both sides will continue to come out as losers.