Jaguars, coach Urban Meyer subpoenaed for documents related to Chris Doyle hiring and resignation
The Jaguars and coach Urban Meyer have been issued subpoenas by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa for documents, electronic transmissions and other evidence related to the hiring and subsequent resignation of former University of Iowa strength coach Chris Doyle by Meyer in February.
The subpoenas are seeking to gather evidence in the $20 million racial discrimination civil lawsuit filed against Iowa on Nov. 12 by former Iowa players. Doyle has been accused of making racial statements against Iowa players that is part of what the lawsuit said “was a racially hostile environment.”
Iowa fired Doyle on June 15, 2020, and paid him a $1.1 million settlement.
Team didn't need this:Urban Meyer says Jaguars didn't need a distraction from Chris Doyle hire
The Jaguars said in a statement released through the communications department that the team is cooperating but believes that Doyle's brief employment with the team, which lasted less than 48 hours, has nothing to do with the Iowa lawsuit.
"We respect and will cooperate with the legal process as required," the statement said. "However, the Jaguars have no information that would be relevant to the lawsuit between student-athletes and the University of Iowa."
The Iowa players are being represented by Damario Solomon-Simmons of Tulsa, Okla., a civil-rights attorney. Solomon-Simmons also has sued the city of Tulsa seeking reparations for the surviving relatives of victims of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre.
He disputed the Jaguars' stance that Meyer did not have information pertinent to the Iowa players' lawsuit.
"As the subpoenas say, we are asking for whatever information they may have regarding Mr. Doyle and his employment at Iowa," Solomon-Simmons told the Times-Union. "We believe they have relevant information and we are prepared to do what we need to do to get it."
The subpoena issued to the team, in care of general manager Trent Baalke, is making 19 requests for documents and transmission. The subpoena issued to Meyer is requesting 10, but most of the requests are duplications.
The subpoenas were issued on June 4 with an order to produce the evidence by July 9.
Chris Doyle was announced as Jaguars hire on Feb. 10; resigned 2 days later
Doyle was announced as the Jaguars director of sports performance on Feb. 10 and resigned the night of Feb. 12 after Meyer came under heavy criticism for hiring a coach that Iowa had fired last June after allegations of racist comments and behavior towards Black Hawkeye players.
In a joint statement issued the night Doyle resigned, Baalke and Meyer admitted they did not weigh the fallout of hiring him so soon after he was let go by Iowa.
"Chris did not want to be a distraction to what we are building in Jacksonville,” the statement said. “We are responsible for all aspects of our program and, in retrospect, should have given greater consideration to how his appointment may have affected all involved. We wish him the best as he moves forward in his career.”
Among the requests made of Baalke and Meyer: any separation agreement between Doyle and the Jaguars; Doyle’s resume; documents, including electronic information and recordings of any conversations between Doyle and the Jaguars from January 2021 to the present; documents and electronic information of correspondence and communications between Meyer, other Jaguars employees and Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz; documents and communications between the Jaguars and Iowa athletic director Gary Barta concerning Doyle; and evidence of the Jaguars’ diligence performed prior to hiring Doyle.
The lawsuit initially made specific claims against Doyle, offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz and coach Kirk Ferentz. In a May ruling, the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Iowa dismissed claims against Kirk Ferentz and also dismissed claims that the plaintiffs were retaliated against for making complaints.
However, the judge rejected Iowa’s motion to dismiss other counts against Doyle and Brian Ferentz and the suit is moving forward.
Doyle is the only Iowa employee to have lost his job.
The suit also is seeking attorney’s fees; the creation of a permanent Black male senior administrator position in Iowa athletics; mandatory anti-racist training for athletics staff; the establishment of a board of advisers that includes Black players and anti-racist professionals to oversee the program; and tuition waivers for any Black athlete who did not graduate with a degree during Kirk Ferentz’s 22-year tenure.
Times-Union staff writer Steve Patterson contributed to this report.