Ole Miss (University of Mississippi) is under investigation for alleged recruiting violations in its football program. In August, the athletic director (Ross Bjork) had to have the full coaching staff sign a form acknowledging that “prepaid phones, pay as you go, burner, etc . . . ) were subject to records requests for production from the NCAA or the University.”
The University took this voluntary step because it had received an allegation from Thomas Mars, the lawyer for Houston Nutt, a former football coach who is suing Ole Miss for an alleged smear campaign by the University on the NCAA recruiting investigation. Mr. Mars has also passed along information to the University that Hugh Freeze, the coach before Coach Nutt, had made a call from his university phone to an escort service. Mr. Freeze said initially the call was a “misdial,” However, when the University found other calls to the same number that coincided with recruiting trips, out when Mr. Freeze. Mr. Mars’s burner phones allegations followed his Freeze information.
Mr. Mars offered to settle Mr. Nutt’s case after the burner phone accusation but before his planned requests for additional phone records of Mr. Freeze and other coaches. Ole Miss declined to settle and then notified the NCAA of the burner phone allegation.
Ole Miss is currently under postseason ban after the Freeze issues. However, these events make it clear that the University has some investigating to do before this shall pass. With Mr. Mars on the case, the slow drip is a killer.