By Talbert Toole
Judge Kelly Luther denied the dismissal of the lawsuit against the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) by Rebel Rags and Plaintiff Terry Warren Thursday morning at the Circuit Court in Oxford. Luther is the judge for the Third Judicial District (Place 2) in Mississippi.
Rebel Rags—an Oxford-based business that specializes in Ole Miss apparel—has been in a legal battle against the NCAA, including the stepfather of former Rebel lineman Laremy Tunsil and former Mississippi State football players Kobe Jones and Leo Lewis, for more than a year. The store brought a defamation case against four opposing defendants in 2017, along with 13 others, that include members of the NCAA, Dan Mullen, and 11 “John Does.”
The case argues that Rebel Rags owner Terry Warren did not, in fact, give free merchandise to potential Ole Miss football players.
On Monday, Warren’s attorney Charles Merkel of Merkel & Cocke filed documentation with the Circuit Court which stated:
“The NCAA would like to deprive the Plaintiff of the use of any portion of the voluminous records and documents which will be clearly contrary to the NCAA’s present position, and will clearly reflect the disingenuous nature of the position which it now urges upon the Court. The NCAA seeks to present and argue its motion to dismiss while effectively preventing not only the Plaintiff but also the Court from viewing evidence which is clearly contradictory of the position.”
According to reports, Luther ruled there was enough evidence to support that a jury may find that defamation exists. Now Warren’s legal team must present evidence to the Court and jury that his business, Rebel Rags, has been damaged.
Warren said he couldn’t comment on the judge’s decision since it’s still an open suit.
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