Sunday, September 27, 2020

SEC Country Report: Ole Miss Officials Verify Leaked Laremy Tunsil Text Messages

Photo courtesy of Joshua McCoy, Ole Miss Athletics
Photo courtesy of Joshua McCoy, Ole Miss Athletics

Story by Matt Barbato, courtesy of SEC Country

Ole Miss officials have confirmed a text message conversation that appeared to revolve around impermissible benefits happened between former offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil and a program staff member. However, the program is still investigating whether the messages posted to Tunsil’s Instagram account were altered in any way, according to a report from ESPN’s Mark Schlabach and Nicole Noren.

The Instagram hack, which occurred on the first night of the 2016 NFL Draft, revealed a text exchange between Tunsil and assistant athletic director of football operations John Miller, in which Tunsil asked Miller for financial aid to help pay his rent and his mother’s electricity bill. Miller told Tunsil to “See Barney next week,” which according to ESPN was a reference to Ole Miss’ assistant athletic director for high school and junior college relations, Barney Farrar.

Farrar has previously told ESPN that he did not provide Tunsil any money. Tunsil admitted to accepting impermissible benefits from the program shortly after he was drafted No. 13 overall by the Miami Dolphins.

Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze recently requested a prohibition on a potential deposition in a lawsuit against Tunsil made by his stepfather, Lindsey Miller, citing that there is no reason for Freeze to be deposed as part of this lawsuit. He also specified several requests if he was forced to give testimony in the case. Miller claims Tunsil fabricated an account of an altercation with Miller and has since defamed Miller by telling this account of the story to Freeze and other Ole Miss staff members, specifically offensive line coach Matt Luke and Miller.

Tunsil claimed the altercation occurred out of defense for his mother, who filed for divorce from Miller six days after Miller sued her son, according to ESPN.

ESPN has also obtained documents that suggest Tunsil allegedly met with an agent in June 2015. The meeting occurred without the agent giving official written notice to Ole Miss, which is required by state law, according to Schlabach and Noren. They report the agent, Isaac Conner, was fined $250 for failing to notify Ole Miss of his contact with Tunsil.


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