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The Big Blue Daily Mail -- Is Billy Gillispie Now in the Driver's Seat?

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Happy Independence Day to the Big Blue Nation, Kentucky, and the United States.  I hope you are all enjoying your long weekend and celebrating with friends, family and food -- lots of food.  And fireworks and all that.  It's great to have this annual reflection our our country's founding, and it gives us all an opportunity to consider how lucky we are to be citizens of the greatest nation in the world.

Now, for the UK-related news:

One of the things that should really disturb UK fans is when the school they love does something that appears deliberately deceptive, and that is exactly what has happened in the Billy Gillispie lawsuit.

UK filed a response to Billy Gillispie's lawsuit against them in Federal court asserting that the former UK coach was suing the wrong party, namely the UK Athletics Association Administration.  The school says that Gillispie was employed by the University of Kentucky, not the UKAA, and the proper party was therefor the University of Kentucky itself:

"It is unfortunate that Mr. Gillispie has sued the UK Athletics Association, a nonprofit supporting foundation that was not his employer, in Federal Court in Texas," the release said. "Mr. Gillispie was a university employee, and the volunteer Board of the UKAA serves the university in a valuable, but purely advisory capacity."

It turns out that the UKAA has filed tax returns over the years showing coaches, including Gillispie, Rich Brooks and former UK Head Coach Tubby Smith as their highest-paid employee, indicating in each case the lion's share of the salary.  So the question now becomes, who was Gillispie's employer?  If it was the school, then it seems unlikely that the UKAA can list Gillispie as an employee for tax purposes.  If it was the UKAA, then filing a response claiming a prima facia untruth as a basis for dismissing the suit would seem, at minimum, to draw the ire of the judge.  In fact, it looks like a deliberate dissimulation, which the bar of both Texas and Kentucky would presumably frown upon, to say the very least. 

Either way, there is no circumstance this layperson can see where UK comes out looking good.  From a public relations standpoint, this is a slam-dunk for Gillispie no matter what legal technicality exists that might rescue UK's argument, or explain this apparently inexplicable dichotomy.  Legally, I am less sure -- there may be some way that UK's argument is defensible and reasonable, but from a "common sense" standpoint (which, admittedly, isn't a legal analysis) this looks very bad for the University and their legal team.

I'll leave it to the attorneys in our membership to amplify this question from a more professional standpoint.  Once again, I'll call on UK to make a serious attempt to settle this case before it becomes a debacle, if it didn't become one just now.  Stuff like this might motivate Gillispie to take his chances with an actual jury.

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