It's officially the offseason, which means that now's the time for Lane Kiffin's star to shine its brightest. On the positive side, his Trojans have enough scholarship space and continued recruiting pull to sign another top-flight class, and could see their NCAA sanctions reduced on appeal after Saturday's hearing before the infractions appeals committee.
But with Kiffin the headlines are never just about football, as Nashville's Tennesseean showed once again with an update on the lawsuit filed against him by the Tennessee Titans , alleging that Kiffin's surprise hiring of Titans running backs coach Kennedy Pola constituted "interference with contract and inducement of breach of contract."
While the lead for the story is that two judges have already recused themselves from the case thanks to various entanglements with the Titans and USC, the story also drops one intriguing bit of data at its conclusion:
A trial date is preliminarily set for Aug. 2.That's a long, long time from now in college football terms, and if it's only a preliminary date, it's a reasonable bet that the actual date could wind up being even further away than that. Unless the two sides come to an agreement before the case goes to trial (which is a possibility), the suit could prove to be a personal distraction for Kiffin for quite some time.
Of course, by now Kiffin has more than enough experience in dealing with off-field distractions; the actual impact of the suit on anything Trojan football-related will be minimal at best. But if Kiffin produces another decent-but-not-spectacular season on the field in 2011, fans could wonder if the constant stream of headlines and personal distractions might be part of what's holding Kiffin back ... and this suit would be yet another log on that fire.