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Saturday, June 22, 2024

Lawsuit filed by ex-Florida A&M athletic director Kortne Gosha against school dismissed by judge


A lawsuit filed by Florida A&M athletic director Kortne Gosha that claimed the school forced him to resign after he reported misconduct was dismissed by a federal judge.

The Tallahassee Democrat reported that U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle dismissed the lawsuit “with prejudice,” prohibiting the claims from being filed again.

Gosha served with Florida A&M from December 2019 before stepping down in December 2022.

The newspaper reported that Gosha met with FAMU President Larry Robinson before his resignation and allegedly gave him the option of resigning or being terminated. Gosha chose to step down and was given three months in severance pay of $100,000 and an additional $50,000 for personal expenses and game guarantees.

Gosha, however, alleged that he signed the agreement under pressure. Hinkle’s ruling noted that the deal was valid because Gosha signed it and accepted payments.

“The record includes no evidence that gender, disability, or whistleblowing had anything to do with it,” Hinkle said. “Instead, the record establishes, again beyond genuine dispute, that Dr. Robinson made the decision for three legitimate, non-discriminatory, non-retaliatory reasons, any one of which would be sufficient standing alone to defeat Mr. Gosha’s claims.”

FAMU
Photo: Florida A&M University

There was a suggestion that an alleged violation of university policy hastened his departure.

It all dates back to a multi-year broadcast rights deal Gosha orchestrated with Urban Edge Networks in February that would feature all university-related content, as then reported by the Rattler Nation Blog.

The deal was struck without university officials’ review or consent from Gosha’s direct supervisor. The negotiations, the blog reported, violated the terms of his employment agreement.

Rattler Nation Blog also reported that Florida A&M officials were unaware that UEN and HBCU League Pass+ entered a FAMU-branded NASCAR vehicle.

Gosha did not comment on the allegations.

The SWAC notified schools, including FAMU, that they were restricted from signing individual national rights deals in linear or digital form.

SWAC institutions can broadcast on their streaming networks, as well as on local and regional television.

Hinkle wrote that Gosha failed to show evidence he was terminated or forced to resign based on discrimination or retaliation. The judge concluded that Gosha’s termination was legitimate.

“Mr. Gosha’s mishandling of those matters included a failure to keep Dr. Robinson advised and to obtain his approval before moving forward as far as was done,” Hinkle wrote.

Gosha last served as operations and sports oversight for football and Olympic sports at Tulane University.

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