Do privacy laws protect alleged recruiting cheaters?

Hinds County lawsuit shows at least one, and probably more Rebel boosters are nervous

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. One booster, “John Doe” filed legal action against the University of Mississippi and the Board of Trustees of the State Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL). The suit was filed May 23 in the Hinds County Chancery Court and heard by Judge Denise Owen. “John Doe” sought to enjoin Ole Miss and IHL from publicly divulging his name in connection to allegations made against him regarding his involvement in football recruiting cheating. As the legal action was filed in Hinds County, it was not hard to surmise that “John Doe” is from the Jackson area. On March 22 the WeidieReport filed a Freedom of Information request with the University of Mississippi with a copy to the IHL commissioner. The request was for the names of any alumni/boosters Ole Miss had disassociated from the Rebel athletic programs as the result of the NCAA allegations. After several email exchanges and phone conversations, on May 3 the Assistant General Counsel at Ole Miss sent me a cover letter and copies of four letters that had been sent to alumni/boosters notifying them of the school’s decision to disassociate them from Ole Miss athletic programs. The names of the boosters, (a.k.a alleged cheaters) were redacted. I thought at the time the blacking out of the names in the letters was akin to changing the names to protect the guilty. Steve Robertson, who covers Mississippi State athletics for Scout.com, has been tenacious and like a bulldog, no pun intended, in digging into the NCAA allegations against the Ole Miss football program. When Robertson’s FOI request resulted in him receiving the same redacted booster names, Robertson filed a complaint with the toothless Mississippi Ethics Commission. And I emphasize the word “toothless.” It would have made more sense, but also been more costly, to file action in a chancery court to force Ole Miss to release the names of the

alleged alumni/boosters involved in any illegal recruiting. Nevertheless, 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. Can head coach Hugh Freeze and AD Ross Bjork (Vice Chancellor for Intercollegiate Affairs) survive and keep their jobs? Maybe they will, but they shouldn’t. New Ole Miss Chancellor Jeffrey S. Vitter has also given strong backing to Freeze and Bjork. As things unfold, he may regret it.

Ole Miss fans should be more than upset with any alumni or boosters who contributed to getting the school in trouble

Ole Miss alumni may be very upset with the NCAA, Steve Robertson, and many others. They should be even more upset and outraged against any boosters who contributed to getting Ole Miss in this mess. 

Why did Jackson Clarion-Ledger ignore reporting about a lawsuit that is major sports and general news?

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.

Mississippi State fans should not get too self-righteous and joyful about the very serious NCAA problems of Ole Miss

Based on the actions of previous football and basketball regimes at Mississippi State, the rival Bulldogs should not get too holier-than-thou about the problems of Ole Miss. In the past, the MSU skirts have not be so clean or pure when it comes to football and basketball recruiting.

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  • william williams

    What MSU basketball issues are you referring to?