Son’s Allowance Bought Craig James’ Conscience

While sitting in an unlocked media room adjacent to a Texas Tech practice field on December 19, 2009, Adam James sent his father, ESPN announcer Craig James, a series of text messages.

Craig James asked Texas Tech to fire Mike Leach on multiple occasions

The text messages, sent while practice was underway on a 66-degree day in Lubbock, included the following:

Hey, you’re going to like this.

Leach thinks it’s impossible for me to have a concussion and that I’m just being a pussy.

So for punishment he had me locked in a pitch black shed for the whole practice.

And they won’t let me out.

And if they catch me even so much as leaning against the wall they’re going to kick me off the team

After receiving the text messages, Craig James replied via text, “can you call me?

Adam James, who had been directed to the media room by head TTU trainer Steve Pincock, replied to his father, “no, just text.

The ESPN announcer then text his son the message, “call me when you can and think about what you will allow me to do.

Craig James asked Texas Tech to fire Mike Leach on multiple occasions

On March 13, 2010, during his sworn deposition, Adam James recalled his thoughts when he first text his father:

We have the same sense of humor and personality, and I thought — we thought it was funny. So I said ‘you’re going to like this.‘”

Adam James also said on March 13, 2010, that he had never spoken to Leach about the concussion he referenced in his texts to his father, nor did Leach or anyone else ever tell him he would be punished for “so much as leaning against the wall.”

On Dec. 19, 2009, after spending 90 minutes in the media room, Adam James eventually let himself out of the building as no one was outside to open the unlocked door.

After Craig James received the texts from his son on Dec. 19, 2009, he contacted then-Chairman of the Texas Tech Board of Regents, Larry Anders. Anders later recalled during a sworn deposition on March 23, 2010, how he was first introduced to the situation by the ESPN announcer:

.. there was a message on my wife’s cellphone from his (Craig James) wife Marilyn. That I needed to talk to Craig and it was a matter of life and death.

Anders, who had been set to attend a wedding event, contacted the ESPN announcer who told him his son had been “shut in an electrical closetwhile “humiliated” with “extreme profanity” by Leach. Also during the call, which came on the same day Craig James had received the Dec. 19 texts from his son, Anders said the ESPN announcer demanded Leach apologize and “recommended” the coach be fired.

Craig James asked Texas Tech to fire Mike Leach on multiple occasions

During his sworn depositon on April 13, 2010, current Texas Tech Board of Regents Chairman Jerry Turner, who was Vice Chairman at the time, reported what Anders told him of his exchange with Craig James on the same day the ESPN announcer received text messages from his son at TTU practice:

Larry said that based on his conversation with Craig James, Craig James wanted Mike Leach fired. I said to Larry, ‘I don’t believe that.’

Obviously I was wrong, Craig James did want Mike Leach fired.

Craig James also called Texas Tech Chancellor Kent Hance to report what his son had told him. Later, Hance recalled the conversation with the ESPN announcer during his March 11, 2010, sworn deposition:

He (Craig James) wanted an apology and he wanted him (Mike Leach) fired and I said, “‘Craig, if you fire him do you think he will apologize? Both things are not going to happen.’”

When asked at the same deposition if he thought a Leach apology to James could’ve saved the coach’s job, the Chancellor of Texas Tech said, “no.

On the same day Adam James sent text messages to Craig James while Texas Tech practice was underway the son of the ESPN announcer also shot cellphone video of an “electrical closet.”

The space, which appeared well-lit in the video and included footage in which two chairs were visible, was located next to the media room where TTU Trainer Steve Pincock had ordered Adam James to stay for the remaining moments of practice.

Public relations firm Spaeth Communications founder Merrie Spaeth later indicated to SbB that, “immediately after the second (cellphone) video was shot (on Dec. 19), Craig James contacted Spaeth to advise him.

The next day, Dec. 20, 2009, Texas Tech investigator Charlotte Bingham interviewed Adam James in response to the complaint from the James family about Leach to Texas Tech administrators.

Craig James asked Texas Tech to fire Mike Leach on multiple occasions

On Dec. 23, 2009, Bingham provided a report of her fact finding to Hance, Anders, Turner, TTU President Guy Bailey and Athletic Director Gerald Myers. During her March 5, 2010, deposition, Bingham noted of her report about the James family complaint:

I informed President Bailey, Chancellor Hance, Larry Anders, Jerry Turner and Gerald Myers that Mike Leach had not required Adam James to stand in an electrical closet.

Adam James told me that he went into the electrical closet and that he stood in the electrical closet for approximately five minutes.

Bingham noted in her investigation that the son of the ESPN announcer had stayed in the media room for “one and a half hours“, with the door to the building “opened every 15 or 20 minutes” so TTU trainers could check on Adam James.

Bingham later said that TTU President Bailey’s Chief of Staff, Grace Hernandez, reported during the same Dec. 23, 2009, meeting that her own investigation had determined that Adam “never had to stand in an electrical closet.”

When asked during a deposition if he had heard that Adam James had “napped” during his 90-minute stay in the media room on Dec. 19, 2009, Texas Tech Chancellor Hance replied, “I’d heard that.

Bingham also reported of Adam James during the same interview:

He stated that Coach Leach was verbally abusive to players, hated by the entire team and had made it living hell on the receivers.

Bingham also interviewed Craig James on Dec. 20, 2009 as part of the official internal Texas Tech investiation and later said that the ESPN announcer had made a”threat of litigation” against the school to her “and that (litigation against Texas Tech by the James family) would be a can of worms and it would not be pretty.”

The same day Bingham and Hernandez presented their findings of fact to Texas Tech officials, Craig James sent an email to TTU Chancellor Hance reporting that the claims of his son had now been “verified” and that, “if any organization or person did what Mike Leach did, they would be fired. Which is exactly what we expect to happen to Mike (Leach).

Craig James asked Texas Tech to fire Mike Leach on multiple occasions

Current Texas Tech Board of Regents Chairman Turner also received the email from the ESPN announcer and supplied this reaction to Hance:

I interpret his (Craig James) email as a threat he will go public if we don’t take the action he requested.

The next communication Turner received from James - via Hance - confirmed exactly that.

On Dec. 26, 2009, Hance received an email from Craig James that he forwarded to Turner, then-Board of Regents Chairman Anders and Texas Tech President Guy Bailey that included the following:

Bottom line: Tech is absolutely exposed as a university with each hour that passes. The team, the staff, and increasingly others at the school know that a substantial charge has been made, and we understand it has been verified by your own investigative team.

Kent, I ask you and the board members this: Have each of you seen the shed and electrical closet Adam was confined to? I’d recommend each of you visit the Places … walk in them and turn the lights off. NOW, imagine standing there for three hours in the cold without being allowed to sit down or lean against.

This story will become public at some point and you can count on the fact that some television cameras will show this picture.

During his March 13, 2010, deposition, Craig James was asked, “When you wrote this email of 12/26 you did not believe Adam had been confined to the electrical closet for a total of three hours, fair?”

Craig James replied, “Yes.

On Dec. 27, 2009, TTU President Guy Bailey drafted a letter addressed to Mike Leach that included a private reprimand and $60,000 fine. The final line of the letter read:

This concludes the inquiry into allegations made by Adam James and his parents. If other information about other incidents emerges, we will investigate them and take appropriate action as warranted.

Instead of the letter being delivered, on the same day TTU investigator Bingham left a voicemail with Leach’s attorney that stated, “if there’s not just some incredible objection, Mike needs to sign the letter — that he sign the letter that he was presented with (earlier) — and return it to (TTU attorney’s office) or return it to the president (Guy Bailey) and then he needs to work on some sort of apology.

No deadline of when the coach was required to fulfill the request was given by Bingham - or anyone at TTU - to Leach or his attorney.

In the same voicemail to Leach’s attorney, Bingham referenced “outside pressure” from Craig James as a reason Texas Tech was looking to resolve the James family complaint as soon as possible.

Craig James asked Texas Tech to fire Mike Leach on multiple occasions

The next day Texas Tech announced that Leach had been suspended.

90 minutes after Texas Tech released a statement reporting that Leach’s suspension was in response to a complaint by the family of an unnamed Texas Tech football player, ESPN reporter Joe Schad broke the news that Adam James was the player in question.

Schad next provided the following details of the treatment of Adam James at the hands of the newly-suspended Texas Tech football coach:

A source close to the James family said Leach called a trainer and directed him to move James “to the darkest place, to clean out the equipment and to make sure that he could not sit or lean. He was confined for three hours.”

A source told The Associated Press that James said Leach told him if he came out, he would be kicked off the team.

According to the source, Leach told the trainer, two days later, to “put [James] in the darkest, tightest spot. It was in an electrical closet, again, with a guard posted outside.”

The claims by the anonymous “source close to the James family” were not noted in the ESPN report as being alleged, though the same claims had already been debunked by Texas Tech’s own internal investigation as part of the aformentioned report by Charlotte Bingham and Grace Hernandez to Texas Tech administrators seven days earlier.

Three months later, on March 13, 2010, deposition testimony by Adam James revealed that the claims that had previously - and repeatedly - been presented by ESPN as the primary facts that led to Leach’s Texas Tech ouster were actually completely incorrect.

After ESPN broke the news that Adam James was the player who had initiated the complaint - via his ESPN announcer father’s public relations firm - Spaeth Communications released a statement to the media that included, “The entire James family is supportive of the University and looks forward to a resolution of the matter.

Less than 48 hours later, Mike Leach was fired.

Craig James asked Texas Tech to fire Mike Leach on multiple occasions

After Leach’s firing, Craig James said of the media publicity that immediately preceded the coach’s ouster:

Anyone who thinks we were asked to go through this, think again. We had to do it.

This (Leach firing) is all a result of what happened to Adam a couple weeks ago.

There’s not a mom and dad in this country who wouldn’t have done what we did if they knew what we knew about our son.

This isn’t something that we asked for. We continue to be a victim of something.

Less than a week after Leach was fired, ESPN’s highest-rated daily TV talkshow, PARDON THE INTERRUPTION with co-hosts Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon, addressed the subject of Leach’s firing and his future job prospects. As part of the debate, Tony Kornheiser said:

I think he will have to convince a college president he won’t lock a kid up in a tool shed or put him in a cage.

It was arrogance and stupidity and behaving like you are above the law at all times.

He didn’t get fired for coaching.

Five months later while speaking to a church gathering in Dallas, ESPN’s Craig James stated:

My son was being treated in an unfair, unimaginable, and unthinkable manner. We filed a complaint with the university; private, hoping to quietly protect Adam to stop the insanity that was being done to him. Not once, but twice.

The lies, the accusations, the death threats, police sitting outside our home. The bounty on our lives. The insanity that comes from someone’s actions, are crazy.

Adam and my footprints, and what we’ve done in life when we hit the wall we can look around and our character, our honesty and our integrity are in place.

Now the other side of the equation, the party (Mike Leach) that’s accusing, I wonder what their beach looks like?

I have felt strongly that we have been in a spirtual war for the past four months. Our faith, our christian family has sustained us.

It’s important to lead a godly life.

Adam James suited up for his final home game as a Texas Tech Red Raider on Nov. 12, 2011, against Oklahoma State.

Before the game, James participated in Senior Day festivities with family members.

Texas Tech later lost the game 66-6 after trailing 49-0 at halftime.

His father skipped the game.

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Fowler 48 Hours Before Ouster: Leach ‘Clueless’

Two days before Mike Leach was fired, Dec. 29, 2009, Chris Fowler appeared on Colin Cowherd’s nationally syndicated ESPN Radio show.

(Leach’s life went up in flames thanks to claims by Fowler ‘close friend’ James )

Fowler appeared on the show to, in part, discuss complaints made about Texas Tech football coach Mike Leach by his ESPN colleague Craig James. The complaints to Texas Tech administrators about Leach were made by James on behalf of his son, Red Raider football player Adam James.Below is audio of the exchange and a transcription of the conversation.


Cowherd:

When you first read about the Mike Leach story, what do you think? What is your first broad thought when you read the accusations, the player, so forth.”

Fowler:

I read it from a different perspective than most people because I’ve known Craig James for 20 years. He’s been a close friend and I’ve worked with him on (ESPN College) GameDay since the early ’90s, so I definitely feel for him and his family and what they’ve gone through and how tough it would be for them to notify the administration in this case.

This is not a hot-headed guy who is going to fly off the handle at the first complaint from his son. He knows what football is, it’s a tough sport and you have to endure so I know for him to make the move that he did, and be aware of the repercussions that it would have for Leach, the program and his own son and he’s got a younger son Andy that also goes to Texas Tech and was thinking about playing football there next year so I feel for what he (Craig James) went through to make that decision.

Everybody that’s a parent who has kids that plays sports, you get confronted with these things at one some point or another, an overzealous coach that’s my perspective. It’s kind of tough for me to step back and comment with distance because I’ve known Craig and I’ve known Adam for a long time.”

Cowherd:

I would imagine there was some reluctance, and I said this earlier, when you’re a public figure, you know you’re going to get beat up on a story like this. Can you tell us how long Craig considered this? Obviously this is difficult but for a public figure it’s even more difficult.

Fowler:

Well they considered it for awhile but I don’t know if he’s being hammered about this. I don’t, I mean, the sense I have is, again, it’s a pretty fresh story with the identity of Adam only being revealed publicly yesterday though it’d been whispered around. 

I think that most people feel that when it’s a head injury, and I speaking just in general terms Colin, a head injury, if you’re a coach in football these days and you don’t understand the importance of that and the need to take it seriously and the need to treat each case individually, listen to the medical experts, listen to the player, understand the long term ramifications of dealing with a guy who has a head injury you’re out of touch. I mean, you’re clueless, if you don’t understand that.

This isn’t a sprained ankle where you’re made at the kid because he isn’t able to go, this is a head injury and I think that’s what has coaches shaking their heads. Guys you run into, and talk to the past 24 hours about this story. They don’t understand how a head injury, you can’t comprehend the seriousness of that.

Two days after Fowler’s comments on ESPN Radio, Leach was fired by Texas Tech and remained unemployed for two years.

Craig James, meanwhile, worked the 2010 and 2011 football seasons with ESPN and is currently running for political office in Texas.

On Dec. 31, 2009, two days after Fowler’s comments were made on a nationally-syndicated ESPN outlet, the DALLAS MORNING NEWS published the following statement from Texas Tech team physician Michael Phy, dated Dec. 25:

I saw Adam James as a patient on December 17th. At that visit I diagnosed him with a mild concussion. I made recommendations regarding level of activity and treatment. These were shared with Adam and the athletic training staff and are documented in Adam’s medical record.

I was not aware of any incident until I was contacted by (Texas Tech representative) Charlotte Bingham. She provided details of a complaint, and I completed a short phone interview and answered questions for her. According to the information given to me, no additional risks or harm were imposed on Adam by what he was asked to do.

Also on Dec. 31, 2009, the DALLAS MORNING NEWS published the following, excerpted statement from Red Raider football team head trainer Steve Pincock, dated Dec. 31:

“In regard to the Adam James situation, the first building was an athletic training storage garage, two of which were adjacent to the football field.– Adam was placed in the sports medicine garage, there is no lock on this building.

“On the second occasion, practice was in the stadium, and Coach wanted Adam to be in a dark location to help his concussion and wanted him out of public view because of his poor attitude and bad work ethic.– Zack Perry, our equipment manager, suggested using the visiting team media room.– I walked Adam to the room, which was at least as big as a two-car garage.

“Inside the room there is an electrical closet.– I looked in the closet and stated that there was ‘no way that Adam would be placed in there’. I shut the door to the electrical closet, and it was never opened again.

“At no time during this practice was Adam ever placed in the electrical closet. The door to the media room was never locked, and trainers attending to Adam stated that he was sitting at times during the practice.

“Adam was never locked in any facility, and was never placed in an electrical closet or tight space, or instructed to do so.

“I received calls about both incidents from Charlotte Bingham, and was asked and answered many questions on the subject, and pictures were taken of both locations. Adam exhibited no symptoms of a concussion after the first day: no memory loss, no confusion, and no dizziness.”

Texas Tech attorney Charlotte Bingham headed the school’s investigation of the James complaint. In her report, she noted that during her interview of Adam James he indicated to her that he “stayed in (electrical) closet (for) five minutes.

Of his punishment by Leach, Adam James stated in his own deposition that the coach’s treatment of his condition was “funny” and that, “being in the shed was not causing me any medical harm.

While in “the shed” on Dec. 19, 2009, Adam James admitted under sworn testimony on March 13, 2010, that he shot the cellphone video of the “electrical closet” in question which he subsequently provided to the public relations firm his father had hired to assist in his handling of the Leach complaint, Spaeth Communications.

Craig James, who also called Texas Tech coaches during games he worked for ESPN in 2009 to complain about his son’s lack of playing time, then authorized Spaeth Communications to release the video publicly on Youtube with the following description:

This video was taken by Adam James, a player on the Texas Tech Red Raider football team on Saturday, December 19th, after being confined by Coach Mike Leach in an electrical closet off the Press Room at Jones AT&T Stadium. James was suffering from a concussion received during an earlier scrimmage game. James was ordered to stand in the darkness until released several hours later. James momentarily turned on a light to record his surroundings with his cell phone.

Craig James later said in his own sworn deposition on March 13, 2010, that he authorized the public release of the video, which led to innumerable airings on various nationally-televised ESPN outlets, because it “was going to help support Adam’s claim.”

It was Spaeth, which also famously derailed John Kerry’s 2004 Presidential campaign with its “Swift Boat” attack ads, that posted the “electrical closet” video on Youtube under an anonymous pseudonym with a description that reported Adam James was “confined by Coach Mike Leach in an electrical closet” for “several hours.

The day after ESPN first aired the Adam James video uploaded by Spaeth Communications, Leach was fired.

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Heisman Director: Yahoo Report ‘Completely False’

Early Tuesday Charles Robinson and Jason Cole of Yahoo Sports reported that, “the Heisman Trophy Trust is expected to strip former University of Southern California star running back Reggie Bush of college football’s top honor by the end of September. … sources said the trust will relieve Bush of the award and leave the honor for that season vacant.

Heisman Trust Statement

(Follow Brooks on Twitter for daily, real-time updates)

In response to the Yahoo report, Heisman Trophy Trust Executive Director Rob Whalen released the following statement:

“Yahoo Sports claiming Heisman Trust has reached a decision is completely false. The Heisman Trophy Trust has made no decision regarding the Reggie Bush matter.”

The Heisman Trust reportedly does not have a regularly-scheduled meeting in September though Robinson and Cole noted that the investigation into the Bush situation had not yet concluded.

The Yahoo reporters also didn’t necessarily report that a final decision on the status of Bush’s Heisman with the Trust had already “been reached.” Only that the outcome would be determined before the end of the month.

From the carefully-worded Yahoo piece, it appears that Robinson and Cole may have anticipated this sort of denial from the Heisman Trust. One wonders if the exposure of the Trust’s alleged sentiment may actually end up affecting the outcome of what ultimately happens with Bush’s award.

UPDATE: Heisman Trust President William Dockery released his own statement on the matter. Read more…

Heisman: No Scheduled Sept. Meeting On Bush

Earlier Tuesday, Charles Robinson and Jason Cole of YAHOO SPORTS reported, “The Heisman Trophy Trust is expected to strip former University of Southern California star running back Reggie Bush of college football’s top honor by the end of September, sources told Yahoo! Sports.

Linda Cohn notes Chris Fowler appearance on SportsCenter

After the Yahoo report was published, ESPN’s Chris Fowler reported on the network’s SportsCenter show that he had subsequently talked to members of the eight-person panel of Heisman Trustees about the status of Bush’s Heisman award. Read more…

Husker Fan Gives Up Rose Bowl For Meal w/Corso

Which would you rather do - go on an all-expenses paid trip to the Rose Bowl, or host a barbecue with Lee Corso and pals? Well, if you’re Nelva Deeke of Hubbell, Nebraska, you get grilling with the Gameday crew.

Lee Corso eating at Hooters

(Lee had his own suggestions on where to eat)

The SCOTTSBLUFF STAR-HERALD cooks up the story of Deeke’s decision to turn down a free fight to Pasadena just so she could share some corn on the cob with Chris Folwer and some cole slaw with Kirk Herbstreit.

Read more…

No April Fools: ESPN Airs UF Spring Football Game

Lover of blogs everywhere, Barry Jackson of the MIAMI HERALD, does his best to bury the lead today in his sports media notes column by reporting on an interesting ESPN programming decision:

Chris Fowler Pantied By Florida Gator Coeds

Largely because of Tim Tebow’s popularity, ESPN will carry the Gators’ spring game at 1 p.m. April 12, with Chris Fowler, Lee Corso and Kirk Herbstreit on the call. A two-hour edition of College GameDay will precede it.

Wow. That doesn’t sound like a great idea by the WWL. But we think we know the real reason why ESPN would make such a nonsensical decision. Read more…

ESPN College Gameday Not Coming To Hawaii Anytime Soon

‘COLLEGE GAMEDAY’ WON’T GIVE UP BIG TEN TO HANG TEN: Sure, ESPN College GameDay will go to Williamstown, MA, but they won’t waste their time with Waikiki:

Gameday Corso Indian headdress

The HONOLULU ADVERTISER reports that the college football show won’t be setting up outside Aloha Stadium any time soon. They will, however, head for the New England town this weekend to watch Williams College and Amherst College meet for the 122nd time.GameDay host Chris Fowler notes that bringing the program to Oahu would require lots of logistical planning, while dealing with high costs and limited facilities.

But that doesn’t bother Kirk Herbstreit: “I keep telling Chris and Lee (Corso) we need to get out there for GameDays.”

SbB girls Anyssa Jenna Waikiki Hawaii

Fowler added he would love to hang in Hawaii and have a great time, “if you promise me that fans will show up at 5 in the morning.”In getting his words in, Corso kowtows to the company line, proclaiming, “It is cost prohibitive; I’d never go out there if I was running ESPN.”

Yeah, the network needs to devote that money to more important projects, like “Who’s Now”.

Lee Corso Nude

It’s too bad the crew isn’t coming. Corso could’ve worked on his tan.