Andrew Giuliani, the 22-year-old son of former Presidential Candidate Rudy Andrew Giuliani, is awaiting the answer to a federal lawsuit he filed against Duke University and its golf coach O.D. Vincent III.
The younger Andrew Giuliani is claiming he was dismissed without cause from the golf team, arguing that the university has violated its obligations to him as a student-athlete. He is represented by Durham, North Carolina attorney Robert
Ekstrand, a Duke law school lecturer and attorney for several former members of the Duke lacrosse team during the sexual assault case.
Ekstrand joined forces with attorney James Cooney in defending falsely-accused Duke lacrosse players, but Cooney has now been hired to represent Duke against Giuliani. Cooney is a 1979 Duke graduate.
The suit does not ask the court to order Andrew’s return to the team. It does seek financial compensation and the return of Andrew’s training privileges at Duke’s state-of-the-art golf-training facility.
Giuliani was recruited by longtime Blue Devils coach Rod Myers, who died in March 2007. Vincent was hired as his replacement. On February 11 of this year, the lawsuit says, men’s golf coach O.D. Vincent announced to the team that he was unilaterally canceling Andrew’s eligibility to participate in the University’s Athletics Program immediately and indefinitely. Andrew and his teammates were shocked. Andrew had no prior notice of what was about to happen. At no time was Andrew ever given an opportunity to defend himself; instead he was summarily dismissed.”
In court papers, Giuliani’s lawyers said Vincent wanted to cut the team from 13 players to six. A New York Times article calculated Giuliani’s strokes per round average for last year as placing him in the bottom half of the team. But performance wasn’t mentioned as a factor, as Vincent cited several incidents of misconduct in his reasons for expelling Giuliani. The suit argues that these incidents were trivial and not appropriate reasons for expulsion.
The suit claims: “On Feb. 2 Giuliani flipped his putter a few feet to his golf bag … On Feb. 3, Giuliani leaned over his driver and it broke, and ‘in O.D. Vincent’s telling, this became ‘throwing and breaking’ a club.’ … On Feb. 3, Giuliani walked ahead of his playing partner at Treyburn Golf Course and later that day ‘gunned the engine’ of his car and ‘drove fast while leaving the golf course parking lot.’ … On Feb. 4, during a golf-team football game, ‘Andrew played harder than some of the other boys wanted to play.’ … ‘On Feb. 10, while Giuliani was eating an apple, a teammate twice hit the golfer’s hand and knocked the fruit to the ground. After that same teammate “slammed a door hitting Andrew’s face,’ Giuliani ‘tossed the apple at a teammate, glancing off the side of his face.’”
The lawsuit alleges that these incidents “were a fabricated and insufficient excuse” in a “rush to shrink the size of the Men’s Golf team,” the lawsuit alleges. This gets into the controversial alleged “Lord of the Flies” scenario, where reportedly Vincent said that “Andrew’s suspension would become a permanent cancellation of his athletic eligibility at Duke unless every single one of his twelve teammates wrote a letter to O.D. Vincent that O.D. Vincent deemed ‘satisfactory’ supporting Andrew’s reinstatement to the team and explaining the reasons why,” according to Giuliani.
For his part, Giuliani is still playing golf. “I’m still very focused on pursuing a pro golfing career, to be the best player I can be,” he said. “I look forward to a long and prosperous career as a golfer.” His reasoning for the suit? “I just really want to make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else,” he said.
While his mother has been outspoken about what she feels is her son’s unfair treatment, his famous father has remained quiet. Giuliani says of former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, “I love my father very much. I just decided not to ask him to get involved in the situation.”