I was pretty amazed this morning to find this lengthy e-mail in our M&WN inbox. It’s a pretty hard troll by Ole Miss, but a futile one.
In this e-mail a person claiming to be a lawyer who has been associated with Ole Miss compliance for the last six years has gone to Deadspin as a “whistle-blower” because they are fed up with all the cheating and they don’t believe the NCAA is willing to properly investigate. It all borders on the line of believability even though much of what they say is too good to be true.
The point of their e-mail is this: they want me to set up a username at Maroon and White Nation so they’ll have a forum to address any issues Deadspin leaves out of the story, and potentially defend themselves.
In other words, they want access to our editorial. They want to see what we are writing about. To get a jump on any negative pub that might be thrown their way. I don’t think so, Jack.
This person went so far as to set up an e-mail address called “W.H. Wistleblower” and write 1,441 words to me. How long did this take? How many of their OM buddies reviewed the request to make sure ‘a dumb ole bully would believe it’? You’ll have to try again, Rebs.
Here is the full e-mail, unedited:
"Sometime in the next 2 weeks there will be a story on Deadspin.com titled, “Is Ole Miss the Next SMU?” It will document the culture of pervasive recruiting violations that exists at OM, focusing on how a school that has been a mediocre program for the past 25 years suddenly reigned in a top-5 class in 2013 – the Nkemdiche, Treadwell, Tunsil, Conner class. This story has been in the works for a few months now, and frankly, the evidence is overwhelming. It involves several banks (one in Bay Springs and one in Winona that I can confirm, but there are others) and businesses through which cash is funneled to recruits as well as businesses that provide non-monetary benefits such as vehicles and furniture. The NCAA has been (was) investigating all of this, but as usual, they’re dragging their feet and are far behind the evidence acquired by Deadspin. Coach Freeze and members of the OM Compliance staff have been to Indianapolis on two occasions trying to keep a lid on things, but he and OM will be blindsided by the Deadspin story. I don’t believe they have any knowledge it’s coming.I know all this because for the past six years I have been heavily involved in OM NCAA compliance (I say “compliance” because OM considers everything involving recruiting, including payments to recruits, to fall under “compliance.”) I have also been the chief whistleblower for the Deadspin story, although I did not initiate it.Let me explain a little, and then I’ll tell you why I’m revealing all this. OM has a fairly complex but brilliant NCAA compliance system set up. It is overseen by a longtime OM law school faculty member (“Bob”) who is also heavily involved in OM athletics. Bob is well-connected in the legal world. He has anywhere between 4 to 6 attorneys with whom he works on compliance issues. It is lucrative for the attorneys – a lot of money for a little work. All these attorneys are OM alumni who are also boosters known to be loyal. I was one of these attorneys until I voluntarily stopped at the end of 2013. However, while I did spent my last year of undergrad at OM and went to law school there, I’ve never been an OM fan or booster. I believe I was chosen because I had a background in sports law and NCAA compliance (including a 2-year stint with the NCAA), both fairly rare in the legal field, particularly in MS, and I think OM just missed the fact that most of my undergrad was at a different institution.By design, the compliance attorneys aren’t supposed to know the identity of the other attorneys. Everything is run through Bob. We also never knew the whole story behind what we were working on. If for example I was setting up an account at one of the banks, or making a transfer or deposit, it was all done under a pseudonym such as John Doe; all I had was an account number. Someone else within the bank did the rest. Or if I was drafting confidentiality agreements with liquidated damages clauses (which were common), it would be clear the paperwork was intended to be signed by a recruit or his parent(s), but I would have no idea who the recruit was. The same goes for confidentiality agreements/inducements with businesses. We worked regularly with a fairly small group of boosters who did the local leg work (the “ground game,” as we called it).Bob was pretty candid about the fact that all of this was done so that no one would ever know the whole story. He didn’t mind my knowing how many attorneys were doing the work and why we were chosen (OM loyalty). I don’t think he was really concerned we would go tell the NCAA. It was more of a way to protect us in the event we were questioned or subpoenaed – plausible deniability. He also made it clear that in the event we were ever questioned, everything would fall under the protection of the attorney-client privilege, which is why everything, and I mean everything, even mundane tasks such as wire transfers, was performed by attorneys.The funny thing is I (and presumably all the attorneys) was supposed to sign a confidentiality agreement with a liquidated damages clause when I stared, but I never signed one. When I first was contacted to work with OM compliance I was between jobs and in the process of moving back to MS. The agreement was supposed to be faxed to me, but I never received it, and I never signed one. About the same time the guy who handled the confidentiality agreements for OM compliance left and was replaced. I don’t know what happened, but no one ever followed up on it, and I sure didn’t bring it up. I would bet that Bob believes I signed a confidentiality agreement. I know for a fact I didn’t.So for the past 4 months I’ve been providing information to Deadspin – emails, names, dates, business records, bank records, phone records, wire transfers and withdrawals that are easily connected to recruits. I did this because I have become increasingly disgusted with the pervasive culture of cheating which exists at OM, supposedly an institution of higher learning, which has only gotten worse with time and shows no sign of being reigned in, and I have become convinced the NCAA has no intention of doing anything about it. I am well aware of and was involved in the NCAA investigation initiated around August 2013. It was embarrassing how quickly they were stonewalled. Technically it is still an open investigation, but I know that prior to the end of 2013 (when I stopped working with OM compliance of my own volition and moved out of MS) the NCAA had stopped pursuing it and apparently had no intention of resuming the investigation.Why am I telling you all this? Two reasons. First, I have no control over how much of the information I’ve provided will be included in the Deadspin article. Some of the information I’ve provided only tells half the story, as I explained above, although it can easily be connected with other information to complete the picture. If Deadspin chooses to leave portions out, I want a forum where I can provide the rest of the details. I’m hoping you’ll give me that forum. By telling you this info on the front end, you’ll know I’m the whistleblower when the story comes out and not some guy claiming to know things.Second, I fully expect OM to go “scorched earth” after me if/when it figures out it was me. I need a forum where I can defend myself publicly should it come to that (although if lawsuits are filed everything will be on lockdown). I’ve considered various blogs/message boards, but I didn’t want all of this to monopolize a board with a lot of traffic/posts. I need a board where I have the freedom to post what and when I need to post, should it come to that, and obviously an OM board would be out of the question. I hope you’ll allow me to do this.Lastly, I realize you may take this and run with it ahead of the Deadspin story. I’m not concerned about that because it would only put pressure on Deadspin to go ahead with the story before someone else does (they almost pulled the trigger two weeks ago but wanted to get past signing day). For all Deadspin knows someone else may beat them to the punch on this story. So I don’t mind if you run with this. Really that’s your call. I’m only concerned with what happens after the story runs. And trust me, the Deadspin story will run, sometime between now and Feb. 21, the writer has repeatedly assured me.I realize I’ve been presumptuous with all of this in that you may not want to get involved. That is fine. If that is the case please just let me know and I will move on to someone else. I feel quite confident that I will accomplish what I need either on your site or another. I would ask that you please let me know as soon as possible if you want me to go elsewhere; there’s an Alabama board that is option B. I’ll understand. Also, if you have any questions about any of this I’ll try to answer them, although I’m somewhat limited in what I can provide due to my agreement with Deadspin.Thanks for your time,W.H. Whistleblower"