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The Commercial Appeal (Memphis, Tennessee)
OXFORD — Florida's Dan Mullen and Scott Stricklin, both formerly of Mississippi State, NCAA investigator Mike Sheridan and the NCAA itself have been throw into the Rebel Rags legal saga.
Rebel Rags, the Oxford-based outlet store, filed a lawsuit against Mullen, Stricklin, Sheridan, the NCAA, Mississippi State's Leo Lewis and Kobe Jones, and Lindsey Miller, Laremy Tunsil's estranged stepfather, in Lafayette County Circuit Court on Tuesday.
Sports Illustrated first reported the news.
The complaint is centered on defamation, civil conspiracy and commercial disparagement. Those are the same allegations the original case, which was filed last June against Lewis, Jones and Miller, are based on. That stems from statements those three provided to the NCAA during its investigation into Ole Miss' football program.
Rebel Rags alleges that Mullen, Stricklin, Sheridan and the NCAA were a part of an overarching conspiracy, which impacted the outlet store when it was named in the Notice of Allegations.
"Simply put, the claims against Mr. Stricklin are wholly devoid of merit," Stricklin's Starkville-based attorney, Charles Winfield, wrote in a statement, "and there is simply no good faith basis in either law or fact for Mr. Stricklin to have been made a party to such a case."
Charles Merkel, an Oxford-based attorney who represents Rebel Rags, said this case was essentially filed as a precaution against a potential argument that the statute of limitations will run out.
Rebel Rags was named in Ole Miss' most-recent Notice of Allegations, which was delivered to the school on Feb. 22, 2017.
The original case, which features several unnamed John Doe defendants, is awaiting a ruling on a petition from the Mississippi Supreme Court. Rebel Rags filed a motion to lift the stay on the case, which would have allowed it to amend the complaint and add those John Doe defendants.
Merkel said judge John Kelly Luther told him the easiest thing to do, since there's a delay in the proceedings, was to file another lawsuit with the unnamed John Doe defendants. Merkel said the two cases will be consolidated.
Lewis, Jones and Miller each told the NCAA that they received free merchandise from Rebel Rags, which led to a Level I violation against Ole Miss. In the original complaint, Rebel Rags alleged that Lewis, Jones and Miller knowingly provided false information to the NCAA in their testimonies.
The Committee on Infractions found those three credible in its ruling and ordered the university to disassociate Rebel Rags owner Terry Warren. That disassociation is pending an appeal.
Ole Miss argued, in its response to the Notice of Allegations and in its appeal, that the testimonies of the three aren't credible.
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