John Doe and others are like Richard Nixon except in this case, the crime (allegations of NCAA recruiting violations) is as bad as the cover-up
The Ole Miss NCAA football violations saga continues. Part of the story almost seems like a soap opera. Apart from the NCAA process, perhaps the most soap-opera like part of the story in how some Ole Miss boosters involved in the alleged cheating are doing everything possible to avoid being publicly exposed. There’s little doubt public exposure would cause embarrassment, humiliation and possibly even worse for some prominent and, in some cases, well known Rebel alumni or boosters. On March 22, the WeidieReport filed a Freedom of Information (FOI) request with Ole Miss for the names of any alumni or boosters who Ole Miss had disassociated from Rebel athletics because of the NCAA allegations. On May 3, the assistant general counsel at the school furnished me four letters sent to boosters notifying them of the decision to disassociate them from Ole Miss athletic programs. Shortly after that a reliable source informed me Ole Miss athletic officials had made five calls to boosters to inform them they also were being disassociated from Ole Miss athletics. The calls were reportedly made one evening and I was given four of the five names. Apparently, the individuals were not the same ones in the redacted letters. A John Doe filed action to stop the release of the names. The staff at the Mississippi Ethics Commission recommended names be released and apparently Ole Miss was going to comply. Ole Miss backed off giving the names pending the July 14 meeting of the Ethics Commission when the staff decision would be considered. Steve Robertson, Mississippi State beat writer for Scout.com, and blogger James Hendrix, took aggressive FOI action with the Ethics Commission. On July 14 members of the Ethics Commission ruled in favor of releasing the booster names and John Doe promptly filed legal action in Hind County against Ole Miss and the Ethics Commission to prevent them from making public the names of the boosters involved in the NCAA allegations (i.e. Ole Miss football cheating). If
the cheating charges are true, all Ole Miss alumni who are truly love their school should hope that eventually the name of John Doe and every other John Doe is made public. Some boosters will be embarrassed. Some will even be humiliated. Perhaps others, and at least one name rumored in Jackson who is involved in the mess, might have their professional career and employment in danger. All should wear the title of “Disgraced.”
Remember TV shows that said the names have been changed to protect the innocent? In the case of Ole Miss and “John Doe”, the names have been redacted to protect the guilty
(Update: Hugh Freeze resigned as head football coach at Ole Miss two hours after this WeidieReport was published. The obvious question now is how Athletic Director Ross Bjork, considering the mess at Ole Miss, can survive. He shouldn’t.)The final decision by the NCAA on the allegations against Ole Miss will run its proper course. The odds favor Ole Miss being given a far more severe penalty than those self-imposed penalties by the university. The future of Rebel Coach Hugh Freeze is an even bigger question. There is one thing for sure: Since the NCAA investigation of his football program and continuing right through the recent SEC Media Days, Freeze has taken a real beating from many national sportswriters. There is another interesting side issue. While he has many detractors in the Ole Miss community, Rebel basketball coach Andy Kennedy has had a pretty successful run with the Ole Miss round ball program. Last year Ole Miss won 22 basketball games (10-8 SEC). Overall Kennedy is 234-139 at Ole Miss with 11 consecutive winning seasons. Yet, Ole Miss refused to extend Kennedy’s contract to the maximum four years allowed by state law. At the same time, the contract of Freeze was extended to the max. The 2016 Rebel football team finished 5-7 and were shellacked 55-20 by rival Mississippi State.