LUBBOCK, Texas — A lawyer for Mike Leach says the suspended Texas Tech football coach did nothing wrong when dealing with a player with a "mild" concussion, and Leach wants a court's help to al low him to coach the Alamo Bowl on Jan. 2.
The motion for a temporary restraining order was filed Tuesday in Lubbock. An in-chambers hearing was set for this morning in the 99th District Court.
University officials suspended Leach on Monday while the school investigates a complaint from receiver Adam James and his family. James is the son of former NFL player Craig James, now a television analyst for ESPN.
A person close to James with direct knowledge of the situation alleges the player was twice forced to stand in a small, dark place while the team practiced. The person spoke on the condition on anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the complaint.
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Leach was "begged to work something out to avoid a confrontation," said a person familiar with the inquiry.
That person said Leach late last week postponed a meeting related to the inquiry and refused to sign a letter saying "no one injured would be returned to work out without doctors' permission."
The school's attorney left a voice mail message with Leach's attorney that the university needed a letter of apology by noon Monday, the person said.
It did not arrive.
Jerry Turner, vice chairman of the university system's board of regents, declined to comment on whether, if true, the incidents might lead to Leach's departure.
"We haven't gotten to that point, of course," he said. "This is an ongoing inquiry, and I certainly do not want to prejudice the results of the inquiry."
Leach led Texas Tech to the best season in program history last year, going 11-2. But he and the university were at odds for months over negotiations for a contract extension. In February, Leach and the school agreed to a five-year, $12.7 million deal that could keep him there through 2013.
The clock is ticking on a portion of that contract. If Leach is the coach as of Thursday, the school owes him an $800,000 bonus.
In an affidavit included in the court filing Leach said he "would never intentionally harm or endanger a player" and that he has been "forced into this situation without being afforded any process." He said "absolutely" no evidence had been given to him that showed he had violated any university rules or standards.
James was injured Dec. 16 and the next day was diagnosed with a concussion by team doctors, the person close to James said.
The person alleged James was sequestered at two consecutive practices:
* On Dec. 17, James said Leach told trainers to put him "the darkest place you can find." James was sent to an equipment shed near the practice field, where a member of the athletic staff checked on James to make sure he did not lean against anything or sit on the floor. James said Leach told him that if he came out he would be kicked off the team.
* When the team returned to practice two days later, James said Leach told trainers to "find the tightest, darkest place" for the player. James, in his street clothes, was put in an electrical closet inside the football stadium for hours, again monitored by a member of the athletic staff.
Craig James called to report the allegations on Dec. 19; a university attorney interviewed him and his son Dec. 20; Leach was questioned Dec. 20 or 21; and trainers, student trainers and the doctor who examined Adam James also were interviewed, the person close to the inquiry said.
Liggett said he has a letter from the doctor who examined James that supports Leach's actions.
"He was not hurt by what happened in the equipment room," the lawyer said. "And Mike did not do anything to worsen the situation, in fact he put him in a safer environment by being inside."
Liggett said Leach did not postpone or blow off a meeting about the inquiry.
"Nope, didn't happen," the Lubbock attorney said. "I've been denying that all day."
Asked if it was awkward for James to be around the team, McNeill said, "I hope not."