Ex-Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt files lawsuit against school

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Hugh Freeze, Ross Bjork and Kyle Campbell, Ole Miss' associated athletic director for communications, were referenced early in the complaint. It included a handful of damning accusations.

"Facing adversity is something that we're familiar with", Freeze said.

An example given in the lawsuit was a Yahoo Sports report on October 2, 2014, which cited sources with knowledge of the NCAA investigation saying Freeze was not believed to be implicated in any major violations and much of the inquiry dates back to actions by the previous Ole Miss staff.

The lawsuit was filed for a breach of Nutt's Ole Miss severance agreement, per Mars.

Worst case scenario: The NCAA's dark cloud becomes a major distraction and the Rebels continue their free fall that started at the end of last season with one-side losses to Vanderbilt (38-17) and arch-rival Mississippi State (55-20).

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.

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Nutt now works as a television analyst for college football. "The sources who lied to [the reporter] before he wrote this story did so for the goal of creating a false public narrative that would deflect the heat created by the NCAA investigation from coach Freeze to coach Nutt".

Ole Miss Chief Legal Officer Lee Tyner said this in response to the lawsuit: "We have not yet been served with the lawsuit, but we are aware it has been filed". For whatever reason, the journey we've been on - obviously, some of our fault - has continued for a long time.

Reports from various media outlets, often quoting anonymous sources, indicated the university claimed that most of the alleged violations occurred during Nutt's time as coach. The suit says Freeze intentionally lied to journalists in the weeks prior to National Signing Day in order to keep recruits interested in Ole Miss. He went there after going 75-48 at Arkansas from 1998-2007.

Nutt's lawyer, Walter Morrison, said he didn't want to "try the case in the media". He was bought out for $3 million in December 2007 and the next day signed to be the head coach at Ole Miss.

Nutt's official target is listed as "Ole Miss Athletic Foundation et al", but it's clear he's after one man: Freeze.

Information for this article was contributed by The Associated Press.