Florida is now at least peripherally involved in Ole Miss’ NCAA situation because UF athletic director Scott Stricklin and football coach Dan Mullen – both of whom formerly were at Mississippi State – are part of a lawsuit filed by a clothing store in Oxford, Miss.
The Rebel Rags store was named in the NCAA’s Notice of Allegations against Ole Miss, and the store owner filed a lawsuit against Mullen, Stricklin, NCAA investigator Mike Sheridan, the NCAA, Mississippi State players Leo Lewis and Kobe Jones and Lindsey Miller, Laremy Tunsil’s stepfather, on Tuesday. The complaint claims defamation, civil conspiracy and commercial disparagement, and says Mullen, Stricklin, Sheridan and the NCAA were a part of a conspiracy.
The Jackson (Miss.) Clarion-Ledger reported that the suit was filed in Lafayette County Circuit Court, which is where Oxford is located.
During the NCAA’s probe, Lewis, Jones and Miller told investigators they received free merchandise from Rebel Rags. The store has denied it, but the NCAA’s committee on infractions believed the three credible and the university was told to disassociate itself from store owner Terry Warren.
Charles Merkel, an attorney for Rebel Rags, told the Clarion-Ledger that the suit was filed as a precaution against the statute of limitations potentially running out.
Merkel told Sports Illustrated that “we’ve got pretty good proof that both Mullen and Stricklin were involved in (directing) both Jones’ and Lewis’ accounts.”
Stricklin’s attorney, Charlie Winfield, told GatorBait.net that “the claims against Mr. Stricklin are wholly devoid of merit, and there is simply no good faith basis in either law or fact for Mr. Stricklin to have been made a party to such a case.”
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