The news broke yesterday that Ole Miss was being sued by Houston Nutt for defamation, and many characterized this as a bad thing for an administration already in hot water. Well, today we can report that it could get worse for Ole Miss before it gets better, as they may have violated a crucial part of the NCAA Investigation Policy by leaking information about the investigation to journalists in January of 2016. We have a full story up on what was said in the filing and the names of those in the lawsuit, which can be found HERE. The NCAA Enforcement Division released a document in April of 2012, outlining what a University should do if they are being investigated or is investigating NCAA violations. The rule in question is outlined as (1) in the document by the NCAA, and it states here:
“Level I and Level II infractions inquiries, especially since institutions are competing and recruiting against other institutions on a national basis, not just within the same conference. An investigation that is fair to all NCAA members must be one that provides for the ability to conduct a full inquiry with the least possibility for anyone to intentionally or inadvertently cause the information to be corrupted.”
Houston Nutt alleges in his lawsuit that Ole Miss intentionally put out false information about the case, which would violate this rule, by our understanding, but keep in mind this all alleged at this point. The second instance of a rule that might have been broken would be the rule of Ole Miss to not share information of the Investigation to those, who may have been involved in it, which would be Hugh Freeze, as the investigation into Ole Miss and Hugh Freeze were still ongoing, and it is outlined here:
“For example, a particularly challenging, but critical, aspect of protecting the integrity of an investigation is the occasional requirement that conference and institutional officials withhold certain information from administrators and coaches until there is an opportunity to fully develop the information without it being corrupted by those who may be involved in wrongdoing.”
The next instance, however, has the most weight to it, outline the Institution’s responsibility during a NCAA Investigation, stating that:
“a charge of failure to cooperate for a coach or administrator, and disassociation for a booster); engaging in the interview process by asking probative questions and stressing the importance to institutional staff members of being truthful and forthcoming during interviews and preserving the confidentiality of information; helping coordinate interviews with representatives, former student-athletes and other witnesses with whom the institution may have a relationship; and working to prevent media leaks and discussion of confidential case matters among institutional employees or outside parties.”
Houston Nutt alleges that multiple members of Ole Miss’s athletic department leaked information on the NCAA Investigation to the media to promote their narrative. This is an interesting development, and everything is alleged at this point.
THIS IS A DEVELOPING STORY AND WE WILL UPDATE THIS STORY AS MORE INFORMATION BECOMES AVAILABLE