On Monday, a certain “John Doe” named in Ole Miss’ updated notice of allegations from June filed an appeal in response to the Mississippi Ethics Commission’s decision to compel the university to release updated letters from the NCAA with the names of boosters no longer redacted. Ole Miss had previously not done so out of concern for those boosters’ privacy.
It appears though that the university has softened its stance on said privacy. As reported by Antonio Morales at The Clarion-Ledger, the ethics commission last Friday released their decision, saying in part:
[Ole Miss must] produce a copy of the notice of allegations and amended notice of allegations redacted as necessary to fully comply with federal education privacy laws or any other statutes or case law, but that any booster names shall not be redacted solely due to right of privacy.
So, in short, the university is here being ordered to release both NOAs with no redacting of boosters linked to the NCAA investigation. Current student-athletes at any institution are exempt from the order, since they still enjoy the Federal Education Right to Privacy Act (FERPA), which disallows secondary school employees from disclosing student information to third parties — even in many cases to students’ parents.
Should Ole Miss comply with the ethics commission’s directive, this would set off a veritable wasps nest among the moneyed Rebel donor armature. Who gave what to whom would become plain as day, and angry recrimination would soon follow along in its wake. The ripples would be felt throughout the state and probably for generations to come.
Better still, the directive came after Ole Miss compliance blogger Steve Robertson filed a transparency and public records complaint with the state’s ethics board, arguing that he, Robertson, has every damn right to know who among the well-heeled Rebel donors is paying all those cheating Faulkner Bears. That’s right: a podcaster-cum-internet-scribbler is forcibly outing people that broke the NCAA’s arcane and amoral rules, in a state where rivalry and allegiance converge into a morass of generational bickering.
So, if you are a Rebel donor who forked over a pile of cash to, say, Kobe Jones on the promise that he would be signing with Ole Miss, you might be in for some very angry phone calls, text messages, tweets, and emails. Go get the popcorn.