NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- For years, generations of Thomas Luck's
family supported the University of Tennessee and its endeavors. But
on Friday, the Nashville lawyer squared off against his alma mater
in a Nashville courtroom in a dispute over prime box seats at
In a lawsuit, Luck 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.
On Friday, a lawyer from the university argued that the case
should be dismissed because state government and its schools are
immune from many types of suits. The school is trying to move his
seats, and require him to donate an additional $6,000 to the
university and pay face value for the tickets.
Davidson County Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle will rule later.
"I've often told people I feel like I'm suing family here,"
Luck told the court.
As president of the West Tennessee Big Orange Club, 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
Luck, who is representing himself, filed the lawsuit after
school officials sent him a letter saying that because of
renovations they were moving his seats.
Tiffany Carpenter, a spokeswoman for the school athletic
department, said the university tried to relocate Luck to
comparable seats on the other side of the stadium.