Former staffer 'deeply saddened' after Ole Miss hung him out to dry for major NCAA violation allegations

Pat Forde
College football and basketball columnist
Ole Miss issued its response to the NCAA’s latest Notice of Allegations on Tuesday, refuting several charges. (Getty)

The attorney for embattled Mississippi football staffer Barney Farrar issued a strident, four-page statement Wednesday saying his client is “deeply saddened” by the “cynical approach” of the school in its defense against major NCAA violation allegations.

A day after Ole Miss released its response to the NCAA Notice of Allegations charging 21 rules violations, attorney Bruse Loyd asserted that there was a “very serious and obvious conflict of interest” on the part of the as-yet-unnamed law firm that at one point represented both Rebels head coach Hugh Freeze and Farrar. Loyd wrote that in the school’s response, it chose to portray Farrar as a rogue assistant culpable in many of the 21 NCAA allegations against the school, while attempting to excuse Freeze from any significant wrongdoing.

“(C)oach Farrar was led to believe that the University, coach Freeze, and himself would all be working together as a team to show that the allegations against (Farrar) were completely baseless and without merit,” Loyd wrote. “Based on the content of the University’s response, obviously, that was not the case. … University decision makers decided to lay the blame on coach Farrar in an attempt to deflect the NCAA’s probe from them and offer up coach Farrar as a sacrifice to curry favor with the NCAA.”

After Farrar was fired in December 2016, Ole Miss continued to pay his salary through the end of his contract on March 31, 2017, and his legal fees. That, Loyd wrote, left the former assistant athletic director for junior college and high school relations believing that there still was a unified approach to fighting allegations against Farrar.

“(C)oach Farrar was never given any indication that the University, coach Freeze or Unnamed Law Firm were no longer committed to fighting the allegations against him,” Loyd wrote.

Loyd said Farrar began to sense that Ole Miss was distancing itself with the school’s February 2017 video response to the Notice of Allegations – which itself remained a private document until this week. After Loyd reviewed the school’s written response last week, he believed Farrar had been hung out to dry.

“I am concerned that decision makers at the University intentionally and maliciously conspired with Unnamed Law Firm to breach fiduciary duties owed to coach Farrar,” Loyd said. “I do not know, not yet anyway. I do know this: within approximately 60 days of being coach Farrar’s law firm, Unnamed Law Firm filed a brief on behalf of coach Freeze that was entirely inconsistent with the best interests of coach Farrar, blaming him for untold transgressions, and calling him a liar.”

The aforementioned Freeze response brief was not made public as part of Ole Miss’ institutional response this week. Neither was Farrar’s response brief, which has frustrated Loyd. He would like to see it entered into the public record, believing that his client has a strong defense in the face of being accused by the NCAA of four Level One violations.

“Therein, we attack the evidence, not the people who are coach Farrar’s beloved teammates,” Loyd wrote. “Therein, we address the charges and do not point fingers. It is my opinion that coach Farrar’s response shows that the majority of the allegations against him are without merit.”

In other news related to the Mississippi Notice of Allegations, multiple sources have told Yahoo Sports that unnamed “Booster 8” in the redacted NOA is Rebel Rags, an apparel store in Oxford, Mississippi, that boasts the “largest selection of Ole Miss gear in the nation!” And “Booster 9” is Rebel Rags founder and president Terry Warren.

The NCAA alleges that Farrar and Rebels assistant coach Chris Kiffin arranged for Rebel Rags and/or Warren to provide $2,800 In free merchandise to two prospective recruits and the family member of another recruit while on trips to campus. That is an alleged Level One violation.

Ole Miss is disputing the allegation, saying there is “no proof that corroborates the claims … that each of them received free merchandise.”

“The enforcement staff finds support for this allegation in the fact that three independent individuals claim that {Rebel Rags} provided inducements to University recruits,” the school wrote in its response. “That interpretation of the factual record is misguided. … Each (alleged recipient of the impermissible benefits) tell a substantially different story about what allegedly happened, and each story suffers obvious and substantiated factual inconsistencies and errors. Each claim is directly contradicted by (Rebel Rags), by their own friends or family, and, most importantly, by objective documentary evidence.”

A message left for Warren at Rebel Rags by Yahoo Sports seeking comment on the matter Wednesday was not returned.

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