LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A former University of Louisville football player has sued the school and coach Charlie Strong and says he was coerced into covering up a beating in the locker room by a pair of teammates.
Former Cardinals defensive lineman Patrick Grant of Sunrise, Fla., alleges that two teammates attacked him Oct. 24, 2010, in the locker room at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium and, according to the lawsuit, beat him “so badly that he required immediate, urgent care and nearly lost his left eye.”
Grant says that, while on the way to the hospital, the team’s trainer told him to “lie and cover up the fact that his injuries were at the hands of his teammates.”
“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.
Hovious did not immediately return a message from The Associated Press seeking comment Friday. University of Louisville athletics spokesman Kenneth Klein said officials do not comment on pending litigation.
The lawsuit comes as the University of Louisville football team prepares to face the University of Florida on Jan. 2 in New Orleans. Grant last played for the Cardinals in 2010 but remains enrolled at the school. Those he says attacked him — former players Jacob and Issac Geffrad of Oakland Park, Fla. — were dismissed from the team in November 2010 and are no longer enrolled at the University of Louisville.
Grant says the bones around his left eye were broken — what Hovious described as a “blowout fracture” — 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 the incident, the lawsuit says a doctor told Grant he should no longer play football but was promised by Strong that his scholarship would remain.
But Grant says in the suit that Strong canceled his scholarship in a Jan. 4 phone call and “hung up” on him when he protested.
The suit 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.
In July, a grand jury declined to indict former players Jacob and Isaac Geffrad on first-degree assault charges.
According to the criminal complaint, Grant suffered several injuries from the fight, including a fractured left eye socket that would later require two surgeries to save his sight and repair the bone structure.