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The Commercial Appeal (Memphis, Tennessee)
OXFORD, Miss. — Former Ole Miss staffer Barney Farrar was placed on administrative leave by the university in November.
He was fired by Ole Miss in December, months after his name showed up in Laremy Tunsil's hacked text messages. So in the wake of a yearslong NCAA probe, shouldn't Farrar have seen the writing on the wall that the university was trying to distance itself from him?
Not in the opinion of Bruse Loyd, Farrar's attorney.
"I don't think so, because as I understand it, he was receiving assurances throughout. 'Don't you worry, we'll take care of you, you're one of us,' " Loyd told The Clarion-Ledger Friday morning. "And I'll let any person observing the situation make their own estimation of whether or not Barney is still 'one of us.' "
Loyd admitted he doesn't know who was giving out those assurances, but he assumes they came from people directly or indirectly associated with the school.
Farrar has been caught in the web of the NCAA's investigation into Ole Miss' football program. The NCAA's enforcement staff delivered its second notice of allegations, which included 21 charges, to the university in February.
The university responded by self-imposing a one-year postseason ban.
On May 23, Loyd filed Farrar's response brief to the allegations. Loyd is Farrar's longtime friend. The two played junior college football together at Northeast Mississippi Community College, along with Mississippi State President Mark Keenum. Loyd is now based out of Houston.
Farrar's contract with Ole Miss expired March 31. Loyd took exception to the fact the university stopped paying Farrar's attorney fees and wasn't going to "bridge him" through the end of the hearing.
He said his issue isn't with Ole Miss, but more with its decision makers.
"I don't think coach (Hugh) Freeze would have anything to do with handling the matter this way. I don't know who this leaves," Loyd said. "It leaves an athletic director, a chancellor and maybe there's a board and they acted on the recommendations of someone else. I just have a strong opinion that you've gone about it the wrong way and it's going to hurt all of us."
The spotlight turned to Farrar on the night of the 2016 NFL draft. On that night, text messages between Tunsil and John Miller, assistant athletic director for football operations, were revealed.
In the text exchange, Tunsil asked Miller for money for rent and to pay his mother's electric and water bill. Miller replied, "see Barney next week."
Ross Bjork, Ole Miss' athletic director, said no new allegations came from draft night. But it still wasn't a good look.
The NCAA's investigation continued as a result and Farrar was fired a little more than seven months later.
"I ask Barney about that day and Barney told me he was called to the athletic director's office and was told he was being terminated and his reaction was to fall to his knees," Loyd said. "He left the offices and was asked to turn in certain things and return to his home and that was the end of his five-year career at Ole Miss."
Loyd said Farrar has hopes of coaching again. But Loyd knows Farrar is facing an uphill battle with his allegations.
"Anyone who is familiar with the allegations would agree Barney has a great deal to overcome with what he's charged with," Loyd said. "And the way that we overcome it, in my view, and the way I've addressed this is to put the evidence in question and we have tried to do that.
"It remains to be seen and I think that's one very, very interesting aspect of this matter. ... Everybody will see the briefs, I assume next week, and they can make their own conclusions about how we're going to attack the evidence."
The university is expected to release its response in the early portion of this month. Loyd hopes Farrar's response will become public as well.
"Without them, the story is incomplete," he said.
Loyd has been in the media and given several interviews this week. He even had death-penalty quotes attributed to him by an Indiana television station, which he sought to clarify.
"In my opinion, this case is nowhere near a death penalty case, in my view," Loyd said. "Someone else may have a different view, in my view it is nowhere near that."
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