Former Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt sues school, alleging defamation of character

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The lawsuit seeking compensatory and punitive damages for lost wages, emotional distress, embarrassment and attorney's fees was filed Wednesday in federal court in Mississippi.

Ole Miss has been under investigation for almost five years and the NCAA has already announced its charges against the school, four of which are Level 1 violations - the most severe violation.

According to a report from Pat Forde, the lawsuit "hammers current Ole Miss football coach Hugh Freeze and athletic director Ross Bjork for creating and perpetuating a "false narrative" regarding the nature of the NCAA's long-running investigation".

"These personal characteristics contributed to Coach Freeze's decision to play the leading role in the self-serving smear campaign that foreseeably damaged Coach Nutt's reputation", the lawsuit says.

Nutt was the Ole Miss football coach from 2008 to '11.

Nutt also points to having left Ole Miss "in good standing" when he was sacked, despite a 2-10 record in his final season and a 1-15 SEC record over his final two seasons.

In May, Nutt and Mars sought an apology from Ole Miss for its handling of the NCAA issue as it pertained to the former coach. "The protection of Coach Freeze became the University's Number One priority in dealing with the NCAA investigation".

In 2017, the NCAA filed an updated Notice of Allegations that charges MS with 21 football violations, 17 of which pertain to Freeze's tenure at the school.

The school self-imposed some penalties, but is defending Freeze, who could face major sanctions if it was determined that he failed to monitor the program effectively.

Ole Miss released a statement from general counsel Lee Tyner that said the school has not been served with the lawsuit. Nutt says he has numerous cases where Freeze and Bjork told journalists the bulk of the NCAA charges could be linked to Nutt. We were provided a short copy a short time ago. He went there after going 75-48 at Arkansas from 1998-2007. "We will carefully review Coach Nutt's claims and respond in due course".

Information for this article was contributed by The Associated Press.

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