Head football coach Charlie Strong has placed himself and the University of Louisville under fire for coercing a former football player to cover up a violent locker room fight that nearly cost him his eyesight.
Former Cardinals defensive lineman Patrick Grant of Sunrise, FL, alleges that two teammates attacked him in the locker room on October 24, 2010, and beat him “so badly that he required immediate, urgent care and nearly lost his left eye,” according to the lawsuit. On the commute to the hospital, Grant claims the team’s trainer instructed him to “lie and cover up the fact that his injuries were at the hands of his teammates.”
The fearful student listened to the trainer and lied to the physician about the actual incident that lead to his severe injuries. “Out of fear and a desire to play, Patrick lied as instructed, telling the doctor he was horsing around in the locker room and hit his eye on a locker door,” attorney Gregg Hovious of Louisville wrote in the suit, filed Dec. 21 in Jefferson Circuit Court in Louisville. Grant’s injuries were so severe that the bones around his left eye were broken and he suffered internal bleeding. Grant had surgery on Nov. 4, 2010, and returned to practice later in the season.
After sustaining an injury during a practice after surgery, the lawsuit says a doctor advised him to quit playing football. Grant claims he was promised by Strong that he’d be able to keep his scholarship upon quitting the team. Unfortunately, Strong shifted gears and contacted Grant on Jan. 4 to inform him that he’d be canceling his scholarship. Grant alleges Strong “hung up” on him when he protested the decision.
The lawsuit being filed against the institution alleges that the university violated NCAA bylaws by canceling the scholarship without a hearing. The suit requests that a judge order the school to reinstate the scholarship. The suit also seeks compensatory damages and a jury trial.
Grant last played for the Cardinals in 2010 but remains enrolled at the school. Those he said attacked him – former players Jacob and Issac Geffrad – were dismissed from the team in November 2010 and are no longer enrolled at the University of Louisville. In July, a grand jury declined to indict former players Jacob and Isaac Geffrad on first-degree assault charges. A University of Louisville spokesman said he is unable to comment on pending litigations.