James: Off ESPN Telecast Over Leach Complaint

UPDATE: (8:06p ET): Joe Schad reports that Leach and James were not present for Texas Tech’s practice tonight. I’ve been told by more than one source that this situation may be a prelude to James transferring to another school - possibly SMU. (Father’s alma mater.)

Adam James Texas Tech Craig James Mike Leach

Not that that would be a stunning revelation.

UPDATE: (7:11p ET): I’ve just been informed by ESPN public relations guy Josh Krulewitz that Craig James will now not be working the ESPN Valero Alamo Bowl game broadcast. He had been previously scheduled to do so.

Krulewitz: “He’s (James) not working the Alamo bowl, for obvious reasons.

UPDATE: (6:59p ET): Adding a twist to Mike Leach’s ordeal, he was scheduled to receive a “completion bonus” of $800,000 if he was still the head coach of Texas Tech on Jan. 1, 2010. Contract detail confirmed at ESPN.com and CBSSports.com.

UPDATE: (6:40p ET): Don Williams of the LUBBOCK AVALANCHE-JOURNAL has more details on the Leach investigation:

Tech football coach Mike Leach was suspended for ordering a player to stand in shed at the Tech football practice facility for two hours, then repeating the punishment two days later because he felt the player was faking an injury that happened during practice on Dec. 16, the Avalanche-Journal has learned.
A source told the A-J Leach did not dispute the facts, brought to the university’s attention by the player and his parent.
Leach had until Monday to write an apology and when he did not, the university felt it had to take action.
“This was not taken lightly,” the source said, adding that Leach did not show any signs of remorse or did not say he wouldn’t do it again.
The player suffered a concussion at practice on Dec. 16 and Leach thought the player was faking.

UPDATE: (6:27p ET): ESPN’s Joe Schad confirms player is Adam James, has statement from James family:

“Mr. and Mrs. James took the step with great regret and after consideration and prayer to convey to the Texas Tech administration that their son had been subjected to actions and treatment not consistent with common sense rules for safety and health,” the family said in a statement released on Monday.

“Over the past year, there has been a greatly enhanced recognition of the dangers of concussions and the potential for long term physical damage to players. At virtually every level of football coaching, cases where children and young men have sustained concussions have generated serious discussion of the importance of correct treatment and diagnosis.”

UPDATE: (6:20p ET): NBC affiliate KCBD-TV in Lubbock:

Sources have confirmed to NewsChannel 11 that the complaint allegedly involves Red Raider wide receiver Adam James. Adam James’ father is ESPN football analyst and former SMU Running back Craig James.

UPDATE (5:40p ET): I’ve learned from a college football and media source this afternoon that the player involved in Texas Tech’s investigation into Mike Leach’s treatment of an injured player is inside receiver Adam James, son of ESPN college football announcer Craig James.

Coincidentally, Craig is scheduled to broadcast the bowl game that Leach has been barred from coaching: the Valero Alamo Bowl on Jan. 2.

I’ve got an email into ESPN about the prospect of Craig working that game.

As for Leach’s treatment of Adam James, I’ve learned that James was locked in a darkened equipment room during a recent Tech practice after Leach discovered James wearing sunglasses at practice.

James had told Leach that he needed the eyewear to combat symptoms of a recent concussion.

I was also told that wasn’t the only incident involving James, but I’ve not confirmed any other specific actions by Leach to this point.

Joe Schad of ESPN reported this afternoon that Leach’s attorney plans to challenge the suspension and will work to get Leach reinstated before the bowl game.

Statement from Texas Tech just released:

Texas Tech University recently received a complaint from a player and his parents regarding Red Raider Head Football Coach Mike Leach’s treatment of the athlete after an injury.

Mike Leach pirate skeleton

At Texas Tech all such complaints are considered as serious matters, and as a result, an investigation of the incident is underway. Until the investigation is complete, Texas Tech University is suspending coach Leach from all duties as Head Football Coach effective immediately. The investigation into this matter will continue in a thorough and fair manner.

Coach Ruffin McNeill will assume duties as Interim Head Coach and will coach the team during the Alamo Bowl.

Based on Leach’s past relationship with his players and the school’s AD Gerald Myers, it goes without saying that he isn’t going to be given the benefit of the doubt in these kinds of situations.