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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Upon further review

Posted by on Sun, Sep 21, 2008 at 11:32 PM

Duke football is idle this week, leaving your friendly correspondent ample time to scour the Internets for a reason to question his previous assertions about the state of Duke football.

Enter the North Carolina Business Litigation Report (NCBLR).

You may have heard recently that the legal wrangling between Duke and the University of Louisville has come to a close. Louisville filed suit in 2007 after Duke opted out of playing the final three games of a series that was scheduled to run through 2009. Earlier this summer, Judge  Phillip J. Shepherd of the Franklin County Circuit Court ruled that the Cardinals were entitled to bubkiss.

How, you ask, were Duke's lawyers able to convince a Kentucky judge to rule in their favor?

By stating the obvious, silly.

From the NCBLR's report:

...a quick synopsis of Kentucky Judge Phillip Shepherd's decision is that Louisville was not entitled to damages because the contract said that Louisville could not get damages if it was able to replace Duke with teams of "similar stature."  The Court observed that "at oral argument, Duke persuasively asserted that this is a threshold that could not be any lower."

Need that translated out of legalese? No worries, the Report has this easily parsed video of the Duke lawyers making their arguments before the judge.

Now it should surprise no one that the judge found some merit in the Blue Devil's argument, the crux of which was that Duke football has for a great long time been abysmal, schools from outside the conference only contract with them in order to guarantee their team a win,  water is wet, etc.

No, what's most striking about this situation is that a circuit court judge, and by extension the sovereign state of Kentucky, has now made a determination of the quality and athletic prowess of  Duke University football.

Granted, we are talking about the Bluegrass state, and really, what the hell do Kentuckians know from good football, anyway.

But let's forget that for a second and focus instead on what implications the ruling might hold for Duke U. For instance:

Can some intrepid lawyer now successfully argue for the return of his client's Duke football season ticket money using the Kentucky ruling as precedent?

Spite is one hell of a motivator. Now armed with the knowledge that it is the opinion of the university that they are are losers, does the team do the unthinkable and actually win?

The series between Duke and Louisville was set to run through 2009. If Duke does end up with a winning record in this or the next season, does Louisville have grounds for appeal?

And if the team does, indeed, make significant strides in the next two seasons, does David Cutcliffe give up his virtue to the first suitor who comes calling?

Based on what was said in that video, will anyone blame him?

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