“There can be no doubt, especially when it comes to athletics, that Ole Miss holds the SEC record for sure for being the most notorious flagrant violator of their state’s open record laws.
“From what I’ve learned in the past two weeks, I dare say they probably hold the same record when compared to every other Division I school in the country.’’
Greg McGarity smiles knowingly. You can’t easily violate an Open Record law you rewrite for your own benefit, Ole Miss.
In Mars’ defense, the school does appear to be engaged in some fairly deep hairsplitting.
The school said in the letter that Freeze’s phone was provided by the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation and that allowed Freeze to use the phone for personal and business calls. The foundation is a private, non-profit organization that provides “direct and indirect funding … and other support for the University of Mississippi department of intercollegiate athletics,” according to its most recently available federal tax records.
In the letter, university assistant general counsel Robert T. Jolly, wrote that cell phones used by athletics personnel, including Freeze, are provided by the foundation. Jolly wrote that “Mississippi law prohibits personal use of state-issued cell phones and requires elaborate and time-consuming reconciliation of all activities on state cell phones. As a result, very few University employees use state-issued phones. This has been the case for about ten years.”
However, Jolly also wrote that to ensure compliance with NCAA rules, the foundation “provides the University detailed usage information designed to meet our compliance needs.”
Beyond that, Ole Miss contends that, due to the labor-intensive nature of the task, that it will cost more than $20,000 to review all of Freeze’s phone records. Despite that,
Hugh Freeze is being given the opportunity to review and redact phone records of calls he deemed personal during his five years as the University of Mississippi’s football coach, the university’s general counsel, Lee Tyner, said Thursday.
To be fair, Hugh probably does have a lot of time on his hands these days.