Former JSU head coach Harold Jackson files discrimination lawsuit against IHL


JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) — The former head coach at Jackson State University is suing the former school president, IHL, and others for discrimination and a breach of contract.

Harold Leon Jackson was hired as JSU’s head coach in 2014 under a three-year contract that would end in January 2017.

He was fired in October 2016.

The IHL Board, Dr. Carolyn Meyers, and others are listed as the defendants in this case.

Jackson claims that the Institution of Higher Learning Board has engaged in a state-wide pattern of employment discrimination based on race. He said the board discriminated against Black coaches by giving them employment contracts that are far less lucrative than those who are not Black.

The lawsuit says that Jackson’s pay was set at the sum $260,000 per year. He said contract agreement states the employment should be for three years with a buyout clause of $65,000 or a figure negotiated and agreed upon by both parties if terminated earlier by the University.

Jackson said he understood the buyout clause to mean that he would have to compensate the university $65,000 if he terminated his employment early. He alleges that the termination letter inexplicably stated that he could be bought out of his contract for that same amount.

He was given a University check of $65,000 as a buyout of the remainder of his employment contract. The complaint said Jackson declined the payment because he believed he was entitled to the remainder of his salary.

In the document, Jackson lists the termination clauses for other coaches.

Jackson alleges that many of the coaches who are not Black had contracts that say they should receive the amount equal to the base salary of the remainder of the contract period if they are terminated.

In the complaint, He compares those standards to Black coaches, like himself, who are given a buyout amount, which he claims is less lucrative.

The document alleges that IHL has engaged in a pattern of extending employment contracts to Blacks head football coaches, containing provisions that require them to accept a meager sum as a payout instead of the balance of their contract.

Jackson says he’s entitled to at least $329,800, which is the remaining value of his contract.

Read the full lawsuit below.

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