Saturday, June 3, 2017

Ole Miss booster sues to keep his name private in NCAA charges.

An Ole Miss booster who was disassociated from the football program sued Ole Miss to keep his name from being disclosed.  The lawsuit was filed in Hinds County Chancery Court on May 23.  A public records request asked for a copy of the NCAA amended notice of allegations.  The notice stated the names of several boosters who were disassociated from the football program.  Mr. Doe withdrew his petition on May 26 without prejudice.


John Doe filed his request for an emergency temporary restraining order on May 23 in Hinds County Chancery Court.  He also asked the court to seal the case.  The NCAA served an amended notice of allegations on Ole Miss last year that accused Ole Miss of committing various infractions in its football program.  Doe states he is a booster who was named in the notice and claims the NCAA falsely accused him of wrongdoing.

Steve Robertson covers Mississippi State University athletics for Scout.com.  He submitted a public records request to Ole Miss that asked for a copy of the NCAA notice.  Ole Miss provided a copy to Mr. Robertson but redacted the name of the booster.   He filed a public records complaint with the Ethics Commission in March (p.7).  What is interesting is that Mr. Robertson states in his complaint that

The names of the  boosters named in this document were also redacted..The University elected to disassociate these boosters from the University, which speaks to the culpability of the individuals in question.

The University, a state funded institution, has defended itself at great expense, yet chooses to allow these offenders who put the athletics department at great risk to enjoy anonymity. The great people f the state of Mississippi have a right to know who these individuals are.

Other IHL institutions have publicized these names, so there is ample precedent to support this request.
The leadership of Ole Miss announced the NCAA notice on February 22.  Mr. Robertson states that he submitted a public records request to Ole Miss asking for a copy of the notice.  However, Ole Miss Assistant General Counsel Rob Jolly stated in an email to Mr. Robertson that Ole Miss did not have a copy of the notice.  Mr. Robertson posits that he thinks Ole Miss had the NCAA deliver the notice to outside counsel to avoid being forced to comply with the public records laws.


Ole Miss admitted that it's outside counsel indeed had possession of the notice in a response to the Ethics Commission complaint (p.18) but that Ole Miss itself didn't possess the documents*.  Ole Miss told Mr. Robertson that he was not entitled to disclosure of the names because the Supreme Court said private citizens had an expectation of a "zone of privacy".**

 John Doe argued in his petition:

19. Accordingly, the University protested that disclosure of Doe's name would damage their privacy rights as a private citizen.
20. The University also admitted that exposing the name of a private individual like Doe would constitute a tort, since that Jackson State University had disclosed such private data and suffered a $200,000 jury  verdict as a result. Ex.Bat 3. (KF note: This case covered a JSU employee.  Employee records are a protected class of records under the public records statutes.)
He also argued that disclosing the notice would hurt Ole Miss's own investigation (even though the record was not produced by Ole Miss.).

Attorney David McCarty represented Mr. Doe.  The case was assigned to Chancellor Patricia Wise but she recused herself. 

*Question for the lawyers.  So if a lawyer possesses a document on behalf of a client, does that mean the client has constructive possession of said document?

**The main case cited by Ole Miss is Young v. Jackson.  572 So. 2d 378 (1990).  However, that lawsuit has nothing to do with public records laws nor government bodies.  MP&L disclosed her private medical records - the defendants disclosed she had gotten a hysterectomy - to other employees.  No government agencies were involved in this case nor was the plaintiff a public employee.  Ole Miss's interpretation would obliterate most public records laws if it was indeed applicable to this case.  What Ole Miss neglected to leave out of its citation of Young was that the court ruled against the plaintiff:

The fact that Wilson stated that the operation was a hysterectomy, rather than a partial hysterectomy, that occurred more recently than Wilson thought, does not in any way destroy the qualified privilege. The truth or falsity of the qualifiedly privileged communication is not material as long as there is no bad faith or malice. Killebrew, 225 Miss. at 92, 82 So.2d at 650.

In conclusion, there is no evidence in this record that Defendants exceeded the scope of their privilege by communicating Young's private facts to persons who had no legitimate interest therein nor that any of the Defendants acted with malice toward Young. The Circuit Court correctly entered judgment summarily for Defendants dismissing Young's complaint.

If this is the case used by Ole Miss as the foundation for it's defense to Mr. Robertson, then that foundation is rather shaky when one is talking about public records of a public university that do not involve actual employee records.

Kingfish note: Blogger Wayne Wedie made some observations on his blog:

 Without question, some Ole Miss alumni and boosters are nervous about their names being made public in connection with their role in the NCAA allegations of illegal recruiting involving the football program.

the actions taken by Robertson clearly forced a letter from Ole Miss to the ethics commission saying that on June 5 the names of the boosters would be released. Thus at last month’s meeting, the commission tabled Robertson’s complaint. There is obviously much more to come, not only in regard to NCAA penalties against Ole Miss in addition to those self-imposed penalties by the university....

Why did the state’s largest newspaper ignore the very significant lawsuit filed by “John Doe” in Hinds County Chancery Court? Actually, the newspaper’s entire coverage of the NCAA allegations against Ole Miss has been nothing short of pathetic. However, if President Donald Trump had been an Ole Miss booster involved in the football recruiting violations, I’m sure liberal Clarion-Ledger executive editor Sam Hall would have given daily and prominent coverage to the lawsuit and entire investigation. Rest of post.
JJ submitted a public records request for a copy of the amended notice today.  The request asked Ole Miss to redact only the names of minors and students.  



50 comments:

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Kingfish said...

I removed your comment because I could not find any opinions on the Ethics Commission's website nor could I find a court opinion in MEC as well.

Anonymous said...

"Steve Robertson covers Mississippi State University athletics for Scout.com."

Yet he knows more about this case and has followed it more closely than any other journalist in the state. Think about all the stories he has written, all the hours of podcasts he has recorded, and the energy and resources he has put into following a story about a school that he isn't even paid to cover, even personally getting involved in it.

He is little brother personified.

Anonymous said...

Anon - The beat that Steve Robertson covers was accused of being the cause of this investigation; players at MSU were accused by some of the Bear nation as being party to the crime. Isn't there a reasonable purpose for his covering a major sports story in the state that he covers even without the supposed/dreamed of/imagined MSU connection?

Anonymous said...

This John Doe fella sounds like a nutt to me.

Anonymous said...

Hey, 4:52, hold on to your sphincter. The ncaa is going in dry.

Anonymous said...

Trump will "unmask" Joey.....oops.....Shane.....oops.....

Anonymous said...

I wish I cared about anything as much as Steve Robertson cares about Ole Miss.

Anonymous said...

As an Ole Miss season ticket holder, I'm disgusted at the way we have handled this. Freeze and Bjork have lied to us at every opportunity. I despise being lied to. Absolutely despise it. This Steve Robertson guy was telling us the truth when our own administration was constantly lying to us. And I hope the boosters' names are put out there because we deserve to know who got us in this trouble. And Freeze's cheating butt needs to be run out of town. And MSU fans better not laugh, because they might be next on the NCAA radar.

Kingfish said...

They have a want to cheat?

Anonymous said...

The states major newspaper, the Clairon Legder, needs to wipe whatever it is they get from Ole Miss off their chin and report on it. That includes you Hugh "Flounder" Kellenburger.

That said, if Hugh Freezus really wanted this all to be over with as quickly as he says, he wouldn't be dragging all theses ammendments and notices and responses out to their maximum time frames like he has. If he really cared, he would go ahead and get it over with instead of it dragging out until the start of football season and allow the atheletes to transfer instead of locking them in for another year filling their heads that it'll just be a one year bowl ban. The next few moths leading into fall will be nothing short of poetic justice for the high and mighty Rebels and I cannot wait!

Anonymous said...

Normally I would say the names should be public record. I have been wanting them to get caught since they signed that amazing class on the heels of a stellar 8 loss season. But it seems to me that since the NCAA has it's own rules for investigations and does not play by normal law, one would have to question if they have been found legally guilty. I know they are NCAA guilty and can be barred from sporting events. But can their names be released when they have not been found guilty in court? Or would that be libel?

Anonymous said...

All fan bases should be lucky enough to have a beat writer as hard working as Steve Robertson.

Anonymous said...

8:26 - two different subjects, my friend. The public records issue is that is relates to a state supported school. If this was a similarly situated football team like the private Vanderbilt --- oh wait, similarly situated after this ban period is over, but only a detail -- then these boosters names wouldn't be a public record. As to the NCAA's guilty issue, they are guilty of rules they agreed to as a member of the association AND a recepient of its largess ($$$s). Their violation of NCAA rules brings on the NCAA sanctions. The boosters that assisted (willingly accepted, but that doesn't matter) the state supported university get their arse into this hole is subject to the state's public records laws. Once they got kicked out as a booster, their face can eventually be released on social media; but don't wait to see it in the Lazy Liar.

Anonymous said...

MSU reporter should spend his time investigating very large men hitting women on the ground. That story disappeared much to quickly.

Anonymous said...

Rumor is some employees of a prominent Jackson (Ridgeland) law firm are very concerned

Anonymous said...

Lifetime Ole Miss fan and I don't care about my team anywhere near as much as a State fan.

Anonymous said...

As a taxpayer who went to an out of state university, I want the names revealed. I want that , not only because my tax dollars go to support our state universities, but because I might have dealings with these people. I need to know if they are unethical and/or have poor judgement.
PS Intense in state rivalries can be and are good natured in most states. The fans like each other except on game day. If you love Mississippi and have good sense, you should want both schools to do well and have good reputations. They are reflections of our State and us as a people.

Anonymous said...

8:14 "you should want both schools to do well" Are there only 2 "schools" in Mississippi?

Anonymous said...

As an Ole Miss fan, I have no desire to see MS State's football program in shambles, and unless it effects Ole Miss, I don't care if they win or lose. I know going to their athletic events and cheering for them brings a lot of joy to Bulldog friends of mine.

That same sentiment is not shared by the majority of MS State fans I've encountered lately, who seem to be taking sheer joy in the prospect of something terrible happening to Ole Miss. it's a bit twisted.

Anonymous said...

8:14 makes an excellent point, unethical/illegal behavior follows the individual and is not compartmentalized to any particular situation; and therefore could jeopardize future, or ongoing deals. Ask any LEO who has been subject to Giglio impairment.

Just release the name(s) already...I'm sure we won't be very surprised.

Anonymous said...

9:30. Here is the reason. Some of your fellow alums spent tons of cash to buy players who otherwise had no reason to attend school there. They completely distorted the recruiting process,cheating like no school has since SMU many years ago.Do you really think Tunsel chose ole miss because he loves the school? Many good fans will suffer because of what your fellow Rebels did,not what MSU fans are doing.

Anonymous said...

Hahahahahaha, no school has cheated like this since SMU?? What are you talking about? Bama's entire team drives new cars. Actually Intake that back at Bama...4 and 5 star players from low income homes go there and sit on the bench for two years when they could be on the field at any other school in the country just because they love Tuscaloosa so much. No cheating there. How about when a Miami booster literally paid 2 million dollars to various players but the NCAA screwed up that investigation, so they didn't really get punished? The total cash value of the impermissible benefits in the Ole Miss NOA's are like $23,000. A player slept on the couch of a coach, a player kept a loaner car too long, a booster arranged for a ride to a bowl game for a recruit, a booster allegedly paid Leo Lewis $15,000, a family got free lodging on a visit, recruits got some free merchandise from a store, and a recruit had a free meal at Funky's.

You think ANY of that is abnormal in College Football in 2017? How delusional can you be? Well I'll go ahead and assume that you think State got Leo Lewis and Jeffrey Simmons over LSU, Bama, and Ole Miss through totally clean means, so that answers my question about how delusional you likely are.

Anonymous said...

9:30 what you are missing is that in this case Ole Miss's behavior was completely outrageous. Flagrant cheating. Coming off an 8 loss season, new coach with below average resume, they signed the best player in the nation at four different posistions. None from Mississippi. My guess is that the NCAA can find only a fraction of the things that were done to bribe these players.

Anonymous said...

Why do these boosters spend all of this money? Are they that shallow and locked into the past that they feel like they have to do this to feel important? I went to a fine school (rhymes with Yale) and donate where I feel I can do the most good, but I don't run around and pretend to still be "involved."

You know these guys really don't give a shit about you right, they just want your money. I hope all you boosters understand that...get a life!

Anonymous said...

@11:02, actually the big signing class came after a 7-6 season. Furthermore, Nkemdiche came to Ole Miss because his shithead brother was already there and his mother pretty much demanded that her boys play together. Nkemdiche would have gone to Tulane if Denzel was there. That's not to say that he wasn't "taken care of". Of course he was. ALL blue chip athletes are. It's outrageously naive to think otherwise. Also, Tony Conner, the top Safety that year, was from 20 minutes away in Batesville. Treadwell's best friend played for Ole Miss and so he came down, hung out, liked it, and so Ole Miss won the bidding war for him. Tunsil is the only true outlier in that group due to him having zero connections to Ole Miss. Yes, Ole Miss cheated to get Tunsil. Just like every other school that gets 5 star players cheats to get them. Just like State cheated to get Simmons and Lewis (please argue otherwise). FWIW, the only thing in the NOA about that big 2013 class is regarding Tunsil.

Everyone cheats to land super stud football players. Ole Miss' problem is that Freeze is a hyper-sensitive amateur and the Ole Miss compliance department are half-wits that didn't give the NCAA the finger like almost every other school does. Very few of the violations listed in the NOA didn't come from shit that Ole Miss turned in themselves.

Ole Miss cheated and so does everyone else, but they got caught and they're going to pay a price for it. My problem is the righteous indignation from State fans acting like they don't cheat when they land top players and acting like the fella above who claimed this is SMU level of cheating, because it's not that at that level. Ole Miss cheated on the same level that every other program cheats that lands top signing classes. But I'm typical WAOM fashion, they botched it.

Anonymous said...

11:20 I didn't know Hell had an undergrad program.

Errybody Be Knowin'... said...

It's always fun, entertaining, gratifying and altogether hilarious to read the posts from the UMAA Faithful Footwashers as they scramble around pouting and pretending the blame for their school's misgivings is the fault of Mississippi State. They first blame MSU, then anybody associated with MSU, now they blame a reporter who has bothered to untwist all this shit going up in Oxpatch. Anything but blame those actually responsible for the misdeeds. Gotta keep BEE-ORK and Pastor Freezus on that pedestal.

Meanwhile, the Taco Bell fellow north of the state line scrambles to keep his name out of the press. We might all be BLIND SIDED when the shit hits the fan and Grisham returns to write a screen play, with Swaggart playing Freeze. What's the cost of a Greyhound ticket out of Oxford on the noon-express?

Anonymous said...

To the so called Ole Miss fans that say they don't care about MS State and don't wish their program in shambles....puff puff pass. Every Ole Miss fan I know would love nothing more than for MS State to go down in flames. It's the arrogance and shamelessness of the Ole Miss fan base and Hugh Freezus that makes this so great to see come down.

Savior Like a Shepard Freeze Us said...

As to your side query, KF...

Common sense says "Yes, if my attorney possesses a document related to the matter at hand, client has constructive possession."

If I were an Ole Miss alumnus, I'd be more concerned with the tactic. Using outside counsel for the purpose -- as illustrated here -- of subverting public-records laws? That's troubling.

Hillary Clinton set up a private email server for the sole purpose of subverting FOIA requests. I'll just leave that out there.

Anonymous said...

GTHOM

Anonymous said...

Most schools are violating ncaa rules by going 75-77 mph. Ole Miss is speeding at 125 mph. It is kind of embarrassing that the Chancellor of a state university is unwilling to deal with this situation. If Mullen had been accused of this many Class I violations, he would have been gone the minute they had been verified. Freeze said he made mistakes...most criminals say the same thing. With all this being said, I believe the Ole Miss organization is very similar to the Democratic/Clinton machine and probably won't get what they deserve.

Heads Gonna Roll, Babee.. said...

Meanwhile: June 3 @ 9:27 pm, doing the Shep Smith backstroke-of-irrelevance, wants to suggest some sort of behavioral parallel between a totally corrupt program with a high school senior, not even yet associated with MSU, whooping up on a woman. And 'ON THE GROUND' even.

What the hell has that misdeed got to do with Manning bringing a flagrant cheater to town...one who poisoned the entire athletics well up at Oxford.

If the chancellor hasn't got the balls to run this Judas out of town, I can't imagine him having the balls to rename streets and prosecute a kid with a rope.

June 3, 2017 at 9:27 PM

Anonymous said...

The allegations are Mickey mouse stuff. Rides to games with fans, a t shirt, a player sleeping on a coaches couch when he had nowhere to go etc etc. The academic stuff occurred in 2009 under Nutt. The only payment was 800 to Tunsils stepdad . The state player claimed he was offered money but proof was turned over to the NCAA that State offered him $85000. OM was going 74 mph down the interstate and people are demanding jail time.

Anonymous said...

LOL at the vitriol in these comments from State people. They are so rustled by Ole Miss.

Anonymous said...

21 class 1 violations are Mickey Mouse... you got to be kidding me. Academic fraud occurring during nutt tenure and all these other class1's under freeze appear to be a culture of corruption.

Anonymous said...

Take the money out of college athletics and this will solve the problem, no TV deals, no endorsements and no more multi-million dollar coaching contracts.

Anonymous said...

If there is any other program in the country whose supporters think that 21 Class 1 violations - including academic fraud, and the potential for one or more show cause orders - is Mickey Mouse, please show them too me. Its one more place I would want to make sure my children never consider spending any time, much less tuition dollars, because evidently they produce some absolutely idiots as graduates.

Anonymous said...

Ole Miss people are so delusional. They actually believe Ole Miss is somehow above State? The schools are almost identical with regard to the types of kids that they attract. Give me a break.

Anonymous said...

It's not about cheating. It's about beating Alabama. State and Ole Miss are supposed to be "quality competition". They are supposed to take their check and their arse whooping and smile. Ole Miss made a mistake and beat Bama. That's the only reason they are in trouble. MSU, whether intentional or not, cannot get over the hump to beat King Saban. So they are safe....for now. Get to cocky, and you'll be reminded of your place. Just food for thought.

Oh how I love Freezus, because he first loved me said...

Ole Miss made a mistake and beat Bama. That's the only reason they are in trouble.

Yeah.

It had nothing to do with a member of the football staff (Barney Farrar) putting boosters together with Leo Lewis's "people" to arrange payment.

It also had nothing to do with Leramy Tunsil's draft night declaration that he had received money from coaches.

Nor was it in any way related to Hugh's challenge - brilliantly, over social media - to anyone with derogatory information to contact compliance officials.

And the fact that 5-star players from Illinois, Georgia and Florida ALL OF A SUDDEN decided that Oxford, Mississippi was the place for them? Irrelevant.

Nope.

What matters is that Ole Miss beat Bama two seasons in a row.

That Bama played for a championship one of those years, and won it the next? Meaningless.

Ok. We're clear now.

Anonymous said...

Of the two teams they beat and think they are better than, Ole Miss has neither a National Championship or a #1 ranking for weeks on end. What they do have is the NCAA's attention.

Anonymous said...

How much money did Cam receive from State? It must have been a sizable amount because it took $190,000 to get him to change his mind and attend Auburn for a semester.

Anonymous said...

Ok. Seen it mentioned several times about Ole Miss signing their stellar class after an 8 loss season. The 2013 class was signed after going 6-6 in 2012.

Never let fact get in the way of a good argument.

But, But Down There At Cow College.. said...

The faithful just can't seem to accept the fact that Freeze was a cheater under Orgeron and he was a cheater when Archibald flew him back to town and he was a cheater every year he has been employed since then.

Accept it. Own it. But, for Gawd's sakes, stop blaming his character flaws and the blind eye of Bjork and two chancellors on another school.

Anonymous said...

OK. A six loss season. Or a seven, or five, or eight. Whatever. It was not a season that would attract multiple five star players from around the country and I hate to tell you, Oxford and the Square, even with a bookstore and the Gin (oops that historic rememberance went out about the time integrated football teams began and all those touted 'national championships' did) just isn't enough of an attraction to justify the class.

We know it was because of Freeze's praying with the families - praying that they wouldn't get caught, and those checks from NE Jxn lawyers continued to cash.

Anonymous said...

Are there still "boosters" who use their status as donors, to gain access to the bodies of players?

I remember big gossip, in social gossip circles around FNEJ, back in the Nineties, about one such person, who'd been "entertaining" players, for years - maybe decades, until he was "banned from the program". At the same time, I was hearing, through the Financial Services Grapevine, that his money had run out. ...had to wonder whether, if he'd remained rich, he'd have remained "a respected booster and great guy".

Anonymous said...

lol, can one of you Bulldogs admit that Miss State and every other school out there that signs too national players cheats?

That's not an excuse for Freezus, because he cheated and got caught. I just want to, for once, hear a State fan acknowledge that even they cheat. To think that State beat out LSU, Bama, Ole Miss, and every other school in the SEC for guys like Simmons and Lewis through totally clean methods is laughable. Reasonable Ole Miss fans realize that to get Blue Chip players you have to cheat and that guys like Shea Patterson or Greg Little didn't come for free. Are there reasonable State fans that can admit the same about their 5 star recruits? I'll wait.

Anonymous said...

"Reasonable" Ole Miss fans realize that you "have" to cheat?
That pretty much says all you need to know about Ole Miss fans, now doesn't it? That's about as pathetic as it gets.

Anonymous said...

@3:46 thinks college football recruiting is clean, except for them damn cheating Black Bears, hahahahahahaahahah

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