Former University of Arkansas football coach Bret Bielema filed a federal lawsuit Friday (June 12) against the Razorback Foundation, the private fundraising arm that raises millions of dollars in support of the University of Arkansas athletics department.
The 64-page lawsuit was filed in Fayetteville in the Western District of Arkansas. According to the document, Bielema is demanding $7.02 million and a jury trial.
A PDF of the lawsuit is available at this link.
Bielema, now an assistant coach for the New York Giants in the National Football League, is at odds with the Razorback Foundation over the unpaid amount of a buyout agreement following his dismissal as head coach. The UA fired Bielema Nov. 24, 2017, following a 48-45 loss to Missouri and capping a 4-8 season.
“Having exhausted every other avenue to resolve this dispute, Coach Bielema deeply regrets that the Foundation left him no choice but to commence this litigation,” the filing said.
Bielema’s five-year record at Arkansas was 29-34, including an 11-29 record in the Southeastern Conference. He was named the 32nd head coach in program history in December 2012 when he left a successful head coaching position at the University of Wisconsin. Under his direction at the UA, the football program was never cited for any major lapses or violations.
Rogers attorney Marshall Ney is the lead counsel representing the Razorback Foundation. Tom Mars, who splits time between offices in Rogers and Atlanta and was at one time the general counsel for Walmart Inc., is the lead counsel for Bielema.
Ney provided the following statement to Talk Business & Politics:
“We just received a copy of the complaint at 2:50 CDT from Bret Bielema’s counsel. It appears that the complaint was provided to the media several hours ago – even before the complaint was accessible on the court’s website. What I can share at this point before digesting the entire document is that the Foundation previously demanded that Bret Bielema return the $4,555,833.29 that had been paid to him prior to the Foundation’s discovery of his multiple material breaches of the agreement. It appears that Bielema filed suit in order to avoid being sued.”