Don’t Feed the Trolls


Two weeks ago I woke up on a Saturday morning and read my e-mails. I laughed when I read an extremely long e-mail from – I told my wife and she laughed too.

I wrote a post about it to demonstrate how far OM fans will go to troll MSU fans. I wasn’t trying to stir things up or create a rumor – just point out how insane they are.

But the troll wasn’t over. Not by a long shot. I thought I put it out, but it kept coming back up for two weeks. While neither me nor 95% of Mississippi State fans ever bought into the troll, he kept going with it. Like any spin from the Ole Miss camp, they don’t give up easily.

That post has been viewed over 6,000 times. For some comparison, that put it as the second highest view M&WN article in February, and in the top 25 or so of any article I’ve ever published in my 3+ years of blogging. I was surprised by those numbers honestly. I thought it would get the general 1,000-1,500 or so and pass on down the road. But in every day since the article was published it has had at least 100 views, which is extremely rare two weeks out.

I say all that because I’m not sure everyone understood what I was saying in my initial post. MSU fans or OM fans. Even though I put a picture demonstrating OM stupidly on the article I’m still unsure if it sank in.

Maybe some people didn’t side with me that the e-mail was a troll. I don’t know. But I’ve been around a while and have had plenty of vitriol aimed at me from the other side. I’ve seen enough on the wild west of the internet to know what is true and what is false. So I put that out there to smash it. To throw it back in their face. For MSU fans to see their lunacy.

Don’t feed the trolls.

Maybe it’s my fault. Two days after the first post I tweeted what the “whistleblower” had e-mailed me.

Sure enough I see a post on Six Pack about it. Then Genespage. Then EliteDawgs.

Then Incarcerated Bob tweets that Deadspin has a story on OM. More fuel. The troll gains some steam and fires up the e-mails to me. I tried to put it out last Saturday, but I keep seeing tweets about it, fielding tweets about it, etc. I was starting to question myself a little bit as well. This was a hard troll for sure. That second post had over 4,000 views so I know people were curious.

For the most part, everyone was skeptical. Still in the back of their minds they wondered. The troll was fishing. He didn’t catch anything but a lot of people were looking at the bait and wondering if there was a hook in it. Let this be a lesson that OM will do anything to make us look bad. They will not give up. While the square is burning they will send their minions to torch MSU.

A few people have asked to see all the e-mails. So here they are:

1. Feb. 7th, 11:40 A.M

"Sometime in the next 2 weeks there will be a story on 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"

Response from M&WN (me): Feb. 8th, 8:01 AM

"Ha, nice try. I know you’re an Ole Miss fan just trying to get into our editorial. You can forget that. It’s amazing the lengths y’all will go to shut us up. How long did it take you to write this drivel? We are not actually a bunch of dumb rednecks. If this was true then I’d post whatever legit info you gave me, but I would never let anyone have authority to post on our site however they choose."

2. Feb. 8th, 10:24 AM

"You’re incorrect, but I understand. And I was not asking to post without oversight. I anticipated that everything would be run by you first, but I probably didn’t make that clear. Regardless, I’ve found another site. You’ll see soon enough. Sorry for any inconvenience.– W.H."

3. Feb. 10th, 12:03 PM

"I saw your post about my email and wanted to make a couple of points. First, your hypothesis that I wanted access to your editorial makes no sense. I clearly only asked for the ability to post AFTER the Deadspin story breaks, not before, and then only if stuff is left out or I needed to defend myself. So if I’m making all this up and the story never runs obviously you would have never let me post. Pretty simple. Again, I’ve already secured another arrangement so I have no need for your board, but I would greatly appreciate you printing a retraction once the story runs. It will run on Friday, 2/21 I now know for sure.Second, I had the story title slightly wrong in my prior email. It will be “Is Ole Miss the New SMU?”Third, I probably should have gauged your interest before unloading so much info. My mistake, but I was concerned I wouldn’t be taken seriously if I just said, Hey would you be interested in a big story about recruiting violations? But that probably would’ve been better.Anyway, that’s all I have to say about this. Have a good one.– W.H."

M&WN: Feb. 9th, 9:59 PM

"Incarcerated Bob says Deadspin bought the story from him. What say you?"

4. Feb. 17, 11:32 AM

"Hi, I just noticed your most recent article where you said you emailed me about I.B.  I didn’t get that email. Maybe you should resend it. But to answer the question I assume you’re asking, I.B. is a liar. He didn’t sell anything to Deadspin, I know for a fact. I don’t doubt he caught wind of the story that’s about to come out (certainly not from me) and is trying to pretend he had something to do with it. He didn’t.Later this week, probably Wednesday, OM will be officially notified of the story and given the opportunity to comment or make a statement. From past experience, OM won’t comment except to say they are investigating the allegations while denying any implications of wrongdoing until such investigation is complete. Then they’ll do everything possible to intimidate deadspin not to print it, threatening litigation, but this time it won’t matter.Believe what you want though, makes no difference to me. You’ll see the truth soon enough."

5. Feb. 17, 4:04 PM

"It has begun. The prostitution ring, the recent arrests, all have one common thread that will be revealed Friday. Expect a big week. Oxford is about to burn. I’m about to make a believer out of you."

6. Feb. 18th, 6:02 PM

"You’re probably wondering right about now whether all of this happening this week is just  one giant coincidence. But be patient, it’s about to get better."

7. Feb. 20th, 9:46 AM

"When the next wave breaks this afternoon or tomorrow morning, you’ll want to remember drug trafficking (and where the money ended up), the first two initials (just the initials) of MS’s 51st governor and a garment of clothing worn when it’s cold outside, rhymes with “boates.” You can thank me later."

M&WN: Feb. 21st, 8:27 AM

"Well today is your big day. Not seeing anything yet."

8. Feb. 21st, 10:24 AM

"Oh ye of little faith. When the story breaks today, I hope you’ll be the first one to acknowledge that I have been right all along. That’s all I ask."

M&WN: Feb. 21st, 10:28 AM

"Yeah if it actually comes out I’ll be glad to. When is it supposed to release?"

9. Feb. 21st, 10:44

"Sometime between 2:00 and 4:30. It’s on the afternoon slate."

M&WN: Feb. 21st, 5:33 PM

"Time’s up. I guess you just turned out to be a troll like I said."