IN what must be the first major lawsuit of its kind, quarterback Bryan Fortay is suing Dennis Erickson, his former coach at the University of Miami, for allegedly breaking a promise to make him the team's starting quarterback.
In the $10 million suit, Fortay claims that a breach of an oral contract hurts his chances for a National Football League career. Erickson counters that he does not ``guarantee'' players starting positions; they must be won.
When Erickson made the decision to go with Gino Torretta as his starter before the 1991 season, Fortay transferred to Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J. Toretta went on to guide Miami to an undefeated season and the national championship in 1991, and as a senior last year won the Heisman Trophy.
After sitting out a year, as required by college rules governing transfers, Fortay led Rutgers to a 7-4 record in 1992. This season he may have an opportunity to put his skills on the line against the coach he's suing, when Miami hosts Rutgers Nov. 13. Meanwhile, Rutgers has named Ray Lucas its No. 1 quarterback.