Former coach Houston Nutt sues Ole Miss, alleging ‘smear campaign’
Former Ole Miss head coach Houston Nutt has filed a lawsuit against the school, alleging the school defamed his character in connection with an NCAA investigation, thus breaching his severance agreement.
The suit, which was filed in federal court Wednesday in Mississippi, seeks punitive damages against the school on the grounds that “Ole Miss was contractually prohibited from making any statement whatsoever, truthful or not, that may damage or harm Coach Nutt’s reputation.”
Ole Miss was served with a Notice of Allegations from the NCAA in January 2016 and an updated notice in February 2017. The updated notice includes 21 alleged violations, 17 of which occurred under current head coach Hugh Freeze. The other four date back to Nutt’s tenure, though his name does not appear in the notice.
In his suit, Nutt alleges that Freeze, athletic director Ross Bjork and other Ole Miss athletics officials told reporters “off the record” that Nutt and his staff were responsible for the majority of the allegations. The suit alleges that such activity occurred between 2014 and 2017, and characterizes it as a “long-running smear campaign.”
Nutt coached the Rebels from 2008 to 2011, until he was fired after going 2–10. He now works as an analyst for CBS.
Freeze is scheduled to address the media Thursday at the SEC’s media days.