Report: Phi Slama Jama member sues Univ. of Houston
A member of the famed Phi Slama Jama men’s basketball teams at the University of Houston is suing his former school in an employment dispute.
Former Houston All-American Michael Young filed a lawsuit this week in Harris County district court alleging that the university asked him to engage in fraud and violate NCAA rules, according to a report in the Houston Chronicle. The lawsuit alleges that Young was asked to accept money without performing a service.
At the root of the matter is Young’s reassignment as the team’s director of basketball operations to a position in community relations.
Complicating matters: Young’s son, Joseph Young, is a sophomore guard at UH and was the team’s leading scorer.
Young played a prominent role on Houston’s Phi Slama Jama teams of the 1980s that went to three Final Fours. He had been employed by the university for the last 16 years, spending the last seven of them as the director of basketball operations.
However, Young said he was informed by coach James Dickey that he would no longer be associated with the basketball program and was reassigned to a community relations position.
Young signed a one-year contract on May 30, but said he was told by deputy athletic director Darren Dunn that “as long as his son Joseph Young was a player at the University of Houston the contract would be good, but if Joseph left the University of Houston the contract would end.”
However, Young said it became clear to him that the university had no intention of using him in the new role and that he was being paid to stay home. He resigned a day later, May 31, and later said his son left the university.
At the same time, Young said he was approached by an unidentified individual and asked if he was aware of an investigation at UH about a physical threat of violence against his son.
“Mr. Young was dumbfound that he had been a coach at the school and had not been told,” the filing states. “Mr. Young at that time surmised the school would do anything, including violate state law and NCAA rules, in order to keep his son playing at the University of Houston.”
Joseph Young announced last week he is transferring to Oregon.
In a prepared statement, UH denied the allegations made by Young, but said its policy is not to comment on pending litigation.
Young is seeking to have his contract, which pays a base salary of $64,340, rescinded as well as repayment of $2,100 in attorney’s fees and court costs.
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