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USF relents, will release notes from interviews that led to football coach Jim Leavitt's firing

TAMPA — Attorneys for former USF football coach Jim Leavitt will receive notes taken by the school's investigators from 29 interviews with witnesses to the incident that prompted his firing.

At a hearing in circuit civil court, USF's attorney, Richard McCrea of Tampa, agreed to release the notes into discovery materials among other subpoenaed documents Leavitt's attorneys sought.

McCrea has until the end of next week to submit the notes taken by two investigators during interviews, with names and other identifying information redacted to avoid compromising student confidentiality rights. USF had previously declined requests for those documents, saying they were not subject to the state's public-records laws.

"We know the process that was engaged in was not thorough and complete. It certainly wasn't fair, wasn't professional," said Wil Florin, Leavitt's attorney. "We know that a number of these witnesses have given testimony and statements that what was reported in this review was not accurate. The picture will eventually take shape that this was a cherry-picked operation to get rid of a longtime employee who'd done a lot of good for this school."

USF stands by its findings.

Leavitt was fired in January after USF said he violated the university's conduct policies by grabbing running back Joel Miller by the throat and slapping him twice in the face, lying to investigators and interfering with the investigation. Leavitt has denied it.

ACADEMIC PROGRESS: New results from the NCAA's Academic Progress Rate show USF programs making improvements, especially in football, baseball and men's basketball.

USF's four-year football average, graded out of 1000, jumped from 909 to 930, matching Illinois for the largest improvement by any BCS football program. The Bulls are above the NCAA's threshold score of 925, eliminating any possible penalty. In baseball, USF improved to 991 this year, making its four-year score 913. In men's basketball, it scored 977 to improve its four-year mark to 915.

Colorado was penalized one scholarship in men's basketball and five in football, and Syracuse lost two in men's basketball for falling below 925.

USF relents, will release notes from interviews that led to football coach Jim Leavitt's firing 06/09/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 9, 2010 10:13pm]
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