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Former Football Coach's Federal Lawsuit Against Kansas Athletics Will Move Forward

KU Athletcis
A federal judge ruled Thursday that David Beaty's lawsuit against KU Athletes can proceed.

The lawsuit filed against Kansas Athletics by former head football coach David Beaty can move forward, a federal district court judge ruled Thursday afternoon.

KU moved to have the suit dismissed, but it was apparent from the very start of the hearing in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Kansas, that the judge was disinclined to agree with the university's arguments. "My questions will be pointed," Senior Judge Kathyrn Vratil said as soon as the KU lawyer stood up.

Beaty is suing Kansas Athletics, claiming he is contractually owed $3 million after he was fired near the end of the 2018 season. But KU refused to pay and instead said that Beaty may have violated NCAA rules and that an investigation must first be completed. Beaty has denied wrongdoing.

KU Associate General Counsel Eric Aufdengarten's main argument was the lawsuit didn't belong in federal court. Beaty now lives in Texas, but Aufdengarten said the former coach still resides in Lawrence. He argued that Beaty still owns a house in Lawrence, where his wife and daughter still live.

Lawsuits can be brought in federal court when the parties live in different states.

Vratil wasn't impressed with KU's argument. "Frankly, it doesn't make sense to me why you're making such a big deal about this," she said. 

Beaty's lawyer argued the coach is a resident of Texas. When KU fired him, Beaty moved back to Texas,where he grew up and spent much of his career, to look for work, said Dallas based lawyer Michael Lyons. Texas is also where his family lives, including his 90-year-old mother "who lives in a nursing home and who he visits frequently," Lyons told the court. 

Vratil dismissed the claim and ruled Beaty does live in Texas.

KU also argued it was immune from a federal lawsuit because it is part of state government.

"In recorded history, the only time I could find where KAI (Kansas Athletics Incorporated) says they are a state actor is in this lawsuit," Lyons said.

Vratil also sided with Beaty on that issue. "We're where we are when we started," Vratil said as she dismissed all of KU's claims.

Beaty was fired after going 6-42 as KU's head coach. His lawyer said Beaty does analysis work for University of Texas football and lives in an Austin apartment.

Sam Zeffis KCUR's metro reporter. You can follow Sam on Twitter @samzeff

Christina Elias, a KCUR intern, contributed to this story.

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