CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A former star player at Oceanside Collegiate has filed a lawsuit against The Citadel and one of their assistant coaches regarding a rumor that the player had been kicked out of his former high school for selling drugs.
Keegan Williams, who was one of the top running backs in the Lowcountry in 2019, filed the suit on Thursday along with his father Quin. The Citadel, assistant coach Bobby Ruff and Johns Doe 1-3 are named as defendants. The Williams’ are suing for defamation and negligence.
The lawsuit claims that while he was being recruited by different colleges, Williams was asked about a rumor that he had been kicked out of Summerville High School after his freshman year for criminal activity, specifically for selling drugs. The Williams’ say that is untrue.
The plaintiffs claim that Ruff, a West Ashley and Charleston Southern alum who’s been coaching at The Citadel for three seasons, told then Oceanside head coach Chad Grier that at least three individuals had spread this rumor about Williams. According to a text message that was included in the suit, Ruff texted Grier that “We (The Citadel) want to offer and think he (Williams) can be a game changer but that (the allegation) has held us back.” Ruff would go on to say he thinks the rumor is why Williams hadn’t gotten any offers.
The suit goes on to claim that after Ruff told Grier he was going to find out who started the rumor, he instead “performed his investigation in a grossly negligent manner and would go on to join the effort to defame Keegan Williams.”
The Citadel, nor any other football program in the state, never offered a scholarship to Keegan Williams. He committed to play at UNC Charlotte on signing day back in February and he’s currently attending there while he and his father are paying all tuition and fees.
Keegan Williams has not returned a message seeking comment. His attorney, Gregg Meyers of Mount Pleasant send a statement saying “We Intend to get to the bottom of this. Terrible behavior by grownups who have no business being in coaching has profoundly affected a hard working and talented student athlete and his family.”
A spokesperson for The Citadel said in a statement “It would be inappropriate for The Citadel to provide comment on this pending legal matter at the time.” Coach Ruff had no comment.
The Williams are asking for a jury trial and seeking relief in the form or actual and punitive damages, cost and disbursements of the action and that anyone found to have defamed the plaintiffs be kept from working in any capacity in high school athletics in South Carolina.