Billable hours are undefeated, especially when it comes to college athletics. One area of the country that is racking them up at an impressive rate is not surprisingly in the state of Mississippi.
The ongoing scandal at Ole Miss that has already led to the resignation/firing of Hugh Freeze continued this week as school officials filed paperwork late Thursday night looking to dismiss a lawsuit brought against them by former head coach Houston Nutt. The Jackson Clarion-Ledger obtained the response filled by the university, its board of trustees and the school’s athletic department, which is seeking to throwout a complaint that officials allegedly conspired to propagate misinformation about the former coach as it relates to the sprawling NCAA scandal in Oxford.
“Nutt has attempted to create jurisdiction where none exists by misrepresenting the citizenship of the University of Mississippi and the IHL Board,” the response said. “As a court of limited jurisdiction, this Court should dismiss this action in its entirety.
“Alternatively, this Court should dismiss the claims against the University and the IHL Board based on their Eleventh Amendment immunity.”
Nutt is seeking compensation on multiple grounds as well as for attorney’s fees in the case. Not long after Ole Miss filed their motion to dismiss in the case, the former coach’s attorney in the matter, Thomas Mars, told USA Today that the school is “engaging in stonewalling tactics” as it relates to several records requests related to the case. Perhaps most notably, the university is seeking $25,100 in legal fees in order to turn over records and avoiding turning over the full five years worth of records from Freeze’s cell phone.
“There’s nothing they can do with those records except produce them,” Mars said. “There’s no reason for lawyers to look at them. They’re not allowed to redact them. Phone records aren’t privileged under any circumstances. This is just a bogus exercise they’re manufacturing to try to put a huge price tag on these records and deter me and other people from getting their hands on them. They can’t make me pay for their lawyers to review them. That’s their problem.”
As explosive as the allegations were that led to Freeze’s dismissal were last week, it appears both sides are gearing up for a long and messy fight that will continue dog the football program as they begin preseason preparations in the next few days. As entertaining as game days are in The Grove, it seems the courtroom might be just as interesting for the Rebels this fall.