Lindsey Miller, Laremy Tunsil’s estranged stepfather, has been chatting with a few folks on the NCAA’s compliance staff.
He also spoke with SI.com’s Pete Thamel. If you’re a Georgia fan, this little tidbit’s of note.
Miller, who was dating Tunsil’s mother during the recruitment and married her in July 2014, says he provided the NCAA with text messages, e-mails and Facebook messages to back up his claims. He showed multiple Facebook and text messages to SI that appear to verify some of the claims in the NCAA Notice of Allegations. He also says he provided his bank and financial records to the NCAA, which helped investigators verify an $800 payment from a booster in August 2014. At one point, Miller says NCAA investigators took his three cell phones to capture all the data.
In one Facebook message, dated Feb. 8, 2013, Miller appears to write to Ole Miss defensive line coach Chris Kiffin: “Plz do all the u you said to help me and desiree and my 2 sons I have been ole miss biggest fan 2 times he committed to ga I was there foor u be there for us when its time ok.”
Kiffin appears to have responded: “You know I will!”
Miller provided SI with the Facebook messages, but they could not be independently verified.
(When reached by Sports Illustrated, Kiffin declined to comment citing the on-going NCAA investigation.)
Count me among those who’s still skeptical there’s much more the NCAA will do beyond what Ole Miss has chosen to self-impose. Besides, if things do get worse, there’s always this neat trick:
Ole Miss opens its football season with games against Florida State, Wofford and Alabama. If the Rebels lose two of those three, it’s reasonable to consider that they’d self-impose a postseason ban in the same manner than Syracuse and Louisville’s basketball programs have done in recent years. That would serve as both a preemptive strike toward a more significant NCAA penalty and potentially help the program move forward.
Ole Miss has still not fired any football coaches, which could lead to skepticism by the NCAA of whether the school has sufficiently acknowledged the extent of its missteps. “Schools are probably not doing what they would have issued under the old system,” Buckner said. “You really don’t know. Why penalize yourself when the hearing panel may not impose them?”
Indeed. It’s the NCAA we’re dealing with here, so there’s no reason to rush into anything. Although there would be a certain sense of irony if Ole Miss did decide on a postseason ban for itself the week of the Georgia game.
One other amusing thing – Miller claims to have met with one of the NCAA investigators at a McDonald’s in Oxford, Miss so often that they started meeting in the parking lot instead out of a fear of being seen together. Enter the Oxford Police Department. At least somebody out there is having a good time with this.