Man loses court round in dispute over UT tickets

NASHVILLE — A Nashville judge said she has no jurisdiction to hear a case by a lawyer who challenged the University of Tennessee over prime box seats at Neyland Stadium.

Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle dismissed the lawsuit by Thomas Luck of Nashville, who wants the seating rights that were given to his father in 1961.

The two box seats, which Luck says are the best in the stadium, are on the front row of the upper west deck near the 50-yard line.

The university is trying to move his seats, and require him to donate an additional $6,000 to the school and pay face value for the tickets.

University lawyers had argued the case should be dismissed because state government and its schools are immune from many types of lawsuits.

Luck’s father, William Luck, helped raise money to build the stadium’s upper west deck. As a result of the father’s fundraising, Gen. Robert Neyland, the school’s former athletic director and football coach, gave William Luck lifetime rights to buy tickets for both seats in a 1961 contract.

The contract said the right could be passed down through generations, and Luck inherited that right when his father died in 2002.

Luck, who represented himself, filed the lawsuit after school officials sent him a letter saying that because of renovations they were moving his seats.

School officials have said the university tried to relocate Luck to comparable seats on the other side of the stadium.

Luck still can file a breach of contract claim with the state Claims Commission.

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Comments » 64

senracjr writes:

Who cares!

bluetick writes:

Just give the guy his damn seats! Thanks for everything your family did for the University of Tennessee Mr. Luck, now give us more money and we'll give you crappier seats! Gen. Neyland would be ashamed.

nicksjuzunk#646117 writes:

in response to bluetick:

Just give the guy his damn seats! Thanks for everything your family did for the University of Tennessee Mr. Luck, now give us more money and we'll give you crappier seats! Gen. Neyland would be ashamed.

yep.

dvols writes:

no,

he can pay just as I do!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

TD_4_UT writes:

Why would this University want to shame the memory of Robert Neyland? If he did not think that this man deserved the contract so much so he also committed to his descendants why would he have done it? This is a disgrace, I wonder what the Gen. would think of this situation? He would probably ask that they remove his name from the stadium, rather than treat a contract he made like some kind of post-it note!! GO VOLS!!!

NoMoreWooAfterGoodOleRockyTop writes:

Who would want to sit through the last 7 years of UT football anyway? How many "big" wins have there been in Neyland since '01? Cal '06??? Sad...beating a mediocre Pac-10 team is now considered a signature win. Thanks FOOLmer. How is the 6 mill treating you BTW?

FlaVol2 writes:

UT needs to rethink this. The man has a contract. Adhere to it.

Volumnus writes:

They did this to a friend of mine about 6 or 8 years ago. He is single and childless(no heirs) and his entire estate WAS willed to the University. For a couple of tickets that he had held for 25 years, and a 5k required donation, they screwed the developmental/fundraising dept out of a smooth half million(at least). He has changed his will to three charities and his 3 favorite Waitresses at the restaurant where he eats dinner everynight(and the waitresses don't even know.) We have a real bright bunch over there in athletics(football ticket sales).

bmaples writes:

Once again, big-time college football shows it's all about the Benjamins.

Volguy1971 writes:

It seems that time has forgotten on of the most fantastic finishes in Neyland history in 2004. A 50yd FG as time was running out to beat Florida 30-28 after a missed XP with around 3 mins to go that would've tied it up.

Wauconda_Vol writes:

If Neyland himself did indeed grant those rights, then UT needs to pony up. They do call it "Neyland Stadium" for a reason.

ncvol17 writes:

Even those well off feel the bite of greed. when lesser donors were screwed out of their seats & being held up for greater donations he probably looked on thinking he was safe and secure behind a 'contract' from the 60's.. now the university can shill the seats to a corporation for more $$$ so down he goes.... the Luck family is no longer important to the AD.

Volinsider writes:

in response to bmaples:

Once again, big-time college football shows it's all about the Benjamins.

And those Benjamins are buying us the best coaches Hamilton can buy!! No dough, no show! That's why the wealthiest schools field the best teams, and it will never change. There is no such thing as parity in college football. GO VOLS!!!!

VAvolfanRON writes:

in response to senracjr:

Who cares!

you'd care if they were your tickets.....

VAvolfanRON writes:

in response to dvols:

no,

he can pay just as I do!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

yea, dv...i can see both side......since his dad did help (money)....and they were promised to his dad.....

all these years, he surely made friends and loved it....

what about the other people around him?....are they staying? going?...is it the money?.....wow.....so many questions!!!

VAvolfanRON writes:

in response to NoMoreWooAfterGoodOleRockyTop:

Who would want to sit through the last 7 years of UT football anyway? How many "big" wins have there been in Neyland since '01? Cal '06??? Sad...beating a mediocre Pac-10 team is now considered a signature win. Thanks FOOLmer. How is the 6 mill treating you BTW?

i do not respect your opinion at all.....

grow up

hoosier_vol_fan writes:

I do not like what UT is doing here. The "true general" of college sports gave the Luck family those lifetime tickets and UT should honor it, not make him pay,oh I'm sorry, DONATE $6,000 to the school. General Neyland should rise from his grave and order UT to honor it.

VAvolfanRON writes:

in response to hoosier_vol_fan:

I do not like what UT is doing here. The "true general" of college sports gave the Luck family those lifetime tickets and UT should honor it, not make him pay,oh I'm sorry, DONATE $6,000 to the school. General Neyland should rise from his grave and order UT to honor it.

well, i sort of disagree....(sort of)....we need to take into account what his family has done......but also, just like you and me...raise prices?....tough.....

pdhuff#552644 writes:

I can identify. Ex insisted on season tickets several years ago (just knowing it would rile me) and I conceded.

I put in that she would notify me if she didn't want to renew.

Two years later she quietly dropped them and married a Vandy fan (good guy).

Alas, such is life.

Moving on....

smokeyvol1 writes:

Sorry but Phil has bought that row. Vicky will be in the first seat in the row behind him.

VAvolfanRON writes:

in response to smokeyvol1:

Sorry but Phil has bought that row. Vicky will be in the first seat in the row behind him.

yawn....

baldfan writes:

huh? If a sumfemale dog doesn't get his tickets, then somebodys azz could get whipped. If I have to come down there then I'm bringing both my boys.

gnm53108 writes:

in response to pdhuff#552644:

I can identify. Ex insisted on season tickets several years ago (just knowing it would rile me) and I conceded.

I put in that she would notify me if she didn't want to renew.

Two years later she quietly dropped them and married a Vandy fan (good guy).

Alas, such is life.

Moving on....

Damn...That would make a h3lluva Hank Williams song.

vut56#231073 writes:

A fact at issue here is that, at present, not a single patron in a single seat can really trust whatever they "think" their "rights" are with respect to tickets/seats.

If Mr. Luck's luck has run out, with his heritage, a contract and the overall circumstance, what chance does Joe the ordinary Vol fan have when the next whim unfolds? The stadium needed a lot of work; however, I see, as the plan unfolds, the Letterman's Club, locker rooms, club seating and other foo-foo becoming more important than "infrastructure issues," which was the original selling point. To wit, the south stadium concourses, restrooms, etc., which are on the far distant horizon.

Yeah, money talks; far louder than words such as loyalty, honesty, trust...and all those other virtues we were sucker's enough to believe.

Go Vols, but a "Smokey" haze seems to have settled on Rocky Top.

peerless writes:

in response to NoMoreWooAfterGoodOleRockyTop:

Who would want to sit through the last 7 years of UT football anyway? How many "big" wins have there been in Neyland since '01? Cal '06??? Sad...beating a mediocre Pac-10 team is now considered a signature win. Thanks FOOLmer. How is the 6 mill treating you BTW?

I count 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, etc. all the way to over 100,000 obviously, and by the way, if UT didn't want to pay the coach, they shouldn't have fired him. As a parting shot: Were you whining about Coach Fulmer when he coached the Vols to a NC? Uh, no! Besides, according to your screen name, you're just an abstract noun, so shhh!

VAvolfanRON writes:

in response to peerless:

I count 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, etc. all the way to over 100,000 obviously, and by the way, if UT didn't want to pay the coach, they shouldn't have fired him. As a parting shot: Were you whining about Coach Fulmer when he coached the Vols to a NC? Uh, no! Besides, according to your screen name, you're just an abstract noun, so shhh!

thank you......nice post...

NOW, GO VOLS!!!!!!

heatcoach3030 writes:

in response to NoMoreWooAfterGoodOleRockyTop:

Who would want to sit through the last 7 years of UT football anyway? How many "big" wins have there been in Neyland since '01? Cal '06??? Sad...beating a mediocre Pac-10 team is now considered a signature win. Thanks FOOLmer. How is the 6 mill treating you BTW?

and you sir are an azz hole. how in the hell do you get this is cpf's fault. so sick of you idiot's bashing the man get over it all ready. the university needs to honor the contract signed by Neyland and do what's right come ut your better than this sham, fix your screw up

gnm53108 writes:

in response to heatcoach3030:

and you sir are an azz hole. how in the hell do you get this is cpf's fault. so sick of you idiot's bashing the man get over it all ready. the university needs to honor the contract signed by Neyland and do what's right come ut your better than this sham, fix your screw up

Agree about willowstreet.

I just dont know about this contract.They should honor the contract,but what is in the contract.Does it state he has rights to these specefic seats?Does it state an everlasting set price?

Tennessee should honor it,I just dont know what exactly the damn thing says.

VAvolfanRON writes:

in response to gnm53108:

Agree about willowstreet.

I just dont know about this contract.They should honor the contract,but what is in the contract.Does it state he has rights to these specefic seats?Does it state an everlasting set price?

Tennessee should honor it,I just dont know what exactly the damn thing says.

exactly....we dont have alot of details.........too many questions.....i do hear that his family helped out a ton back when!!!!....but.....surely we could help the great man out!!!

peerless writes:

in response to VAvolfanRON:

thank you......nice post...

NOW, GO VOLS!!!!!!

Thank you, sir. I just get a little testy when folks bash Fulmer. I get tired of the name calling and jokes about his weight. Make no mistake about it, I am a Fulmer supporter, but I accept things as they are and realized the need for change. Now Go Lane Kiffin and Go Vols!

gnm53108 writes:

in response to peerless:

Thank you, sir. I just get a little testy when folks bash Fulmer. I get tired of the name calling and jokes about his weight. Make no mistake about it, I am a Fulmer supporter, but I accept things as they are and realized the need for change. Now Go Lane Kiffin and Go Vols!

You're not alone.

Go VOLS!

peerless writes:

in response to gnm53108:

Agree about willowstreet.

I just dont know about this contract.They should honor the contract,but what is in the contract.Does it state he has rights to these specefic seats?Does it state an everlasting set price?

Tennessee should honor it,I just dont know what exactly the damn thing says.

I agree that UT should honor the contract if in fact it reads as reported. However, that will open a whole can of worms. I read that before the north end was closed in, many people supposedly had lifetime rights to "spots" on the hill which were actually outside the stadium proper with a great view of the field. With that said, does that mean that the contract would prevent changes to the stadium that would essential eliminate Luck's seats? Sky boxes in the future could possibly do just that. Reminds me of a South Park episode: "Dey took r jobs (seats)" Oh yeah, Go Vols.

bluetick writes:

in response to vut56#231073:

A fact at issue here is that, at present, not a single patron in a single seat can really trust whatever they "think" their "rights" are with respect to tickets/seats.

If Mr. Luck's luck has run out, with his heritage, a contract and the overall circumstance, what chance does Joe the ordinary Vol fan have when the next whim unfolds? The stadium needed a lot of work; however, I see, as the plan unfolds, the Letterman's Club, locker rooms, club seating and other foo-foo becoming more important than "infrastructure issues," which was the original selling point. To wit, the south stadium concourses, restrooms, etc., which are on the far distant horizon.

Yeah, money talks; far louder than words such as loyalty, honesty, trust...and all those other virtues we were sucker's enough to believe.

Go Vols, but a "Smokey" haze seems to have settled on Rocky Top.

What a coincidence! I have some smokey mtn haze too. :) I have to thank a Mountain Man.

TNPilgrim writes:

This attitude started with Doug Dickey - Hamilton is a Dickey lapdog. They don't give a damn how long your family has supported the UT football program - what matters is how much money can you give them TODAY!

peerless writes:

in response to TNPilgrim:

This attitude started with Doug Dickey - Hamilton is a Dickey lapdog. They don't give a damn how long your family has supported the UT football program - what matters is how much money can you give them TODAY!

LOL, You said "Dickey lapdog" Why does that sound so funny? LMAO

gnm53108 writes:

in response to 19SEP2009:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Sorry guys...I have to.

With the football team or baskettball team or any athletics I can see where you MIGHT have some interest,and there have even been a couple of posts from yaw interlopers (out of thousands)that have been of interest.

This article is about a Tennessee matter ONLY.It doesnt have anything to do with florida athletics or in anyway effect florida athletics.It's a family matter.

Reptile opinions aren't needed or wanted.

thebjd#424943 writes:

in response to baldfan:

huh? If a sumfemale dog doesn't get his tickets, then somebodys azz could get whipped. If I have to come down there then I'm bringing both my boys.

Would you be Roy D Mercer? He should keep his seats before Bob Ley does some Outside the Lines special about the little man being run over by the greedy big guys. This doesn't play well in the current economic times.

oldvolsfan writes:

in response to baldfan:

huh? If a sumfemale dog doesn't get his tickets, then somebodys azz could get whipped. If I have to come down there then I'm bringing both my boys.

what time do you get off i will be waiting

pdhuff#552644 writes:

in response to gnm53108:

Damn...That would make a h3lluva Hank Williams song.

At least Mama and prison or pick-up trucks weren't involved.

Stumps writes:

I really don't get the anger toward UT on this issue. The man who helped raise the money - who did the good deed for TN - died in 2002 and presumably enjoyed his seats for the rest of his life.

How much has his son contributed?

Regardless of what the paper says this guy's family can't really expect to continue to get prime free seats forever... I have no problem with UT squeezing him, besides, I believe the article mentions they offered him comparable seats on the other side of the stadium... and apparently the junior Mr. Luck figured he didn't have much of a case, otherwise he'd have hired a lawyer instead of representing himself.

Idiot.

gnm53108 writes:

in response to pdhuff#552644:

At least Mama and prison or pick-up trucks weren't involved.

That woulda made it a George Jones song.

rocky_topper writes:

If they were given to his father, what does that have to do with him? Those were his father's seats; not his!

Red_October writes:

in response to gnm53108:

That woulda made it a George Jones song.

So, if trains were involved, would that have made it a Johnny Cash song?!?

A contract is a contract - UT needs to cowboy up, IMO.

WereInTrouble writes:

I'd bet FOOLmer and his merry band of outlaws have made off with his tickets. The university wants to take from those that helped build the stadium up to where it is and give it to people like Phil that destroyed our program. This is UT's version of the Wall Street scandal with AIG and our so called representatives - UT takes from a founding contributor and gives the money to Phil for a bailout. Don't forget - he gets an office to boot!

RockyTopVolFan writes:

in response to TD_4_UT:

Why would this University want to shame the memory of Robert Neyland? If he did not think that this man deserved the contract so much so he also committed to his descendants why would he have done it? This is a disgrace, I wonder what the Gen. would think of this situation? He would probably ask that they remove his name from the stadium, rather than treat a contract he made like some kind of post-it note!! GO VOLS!!!

You asked "...why would Neyland have done it?

Some possible reasons:

1. Papa Luck was a better lawyer or negotiator than son.
2. Neyland lost a bet with Papa Luck with the tickets as consideration, did Neyland golf, or gamble, or take risks?
3. Neyland, being a good soldier, may have done it on orders from above his rank at UT or elsewhere in the political realities of that day. He rank was Major then, no doubt bucking for General in the military and on the field. Neyland succeeded at both to his credit.

I do not think the great General would desire his name removed from the stadium over this new millenium issue.

I think Neyland honored Papa Luck for good reason, but Luck's life and time has run out. I think tickets in perpetuity for Luck's family was possibly an "unlawful" order, innocently given, but nonetheless unenforceable forever as Neyland did not have future authority, his commission and coaching contract have been long expired.

If you honor this type thing you need to think about the American Indians who had contracts & treaties with our ancestors, you see what that got them! Why is luck any different?

Looks like Luck's time and luck has expired, too!

jdcvols#230433 writes:

in response to Stumps:

I really don't get the anger toward UT on this issue. The man who helped raise the money - who did the good deed for TN - died in 2002 and presumably enjoyed his seats for the rest of his life.

How much has his son contributed?

Regardless of what the paper says this guy's family can't really expect to continue to get prime free seats forever... I have no problem with UT squeezing him, besides, I believe the article mentions they offered him comparable seats on the other side of the stadium... and apparently the junior Mr. Luck figured he didn't have much of a case, otherwise he'd have hired a lawyer instead of representing himself.

Idiot.

I've thought from day one that the "grandfathering clause" is a bad practice. New UT fans should have the same opportunity as older ones to obtain tickets and/or parking passes. Everybody should be required to pay the same donations and family tickets should not be automatically passed down. They should pay like all of us.

pdhuff#552644 writes:

in response to gnm53108:

That woulda made it a George Jones song.

Close to "You don't to call me darling, darling"

The perfect country song.

orangeinbama writes:

in response to pdhuff#552644:

Close to "You don't to call me darling, darling"

The perfect country song.

Yep. They are talking about David Allen Coe....

XildnSC writes:

"Send money, guns, and lawyers" - Warren Zevon

iowavol writes:

Atta boy, Mikey. Current donors can now predict how they will be treated in the future.

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