Apology no longer all Houston Nutt will settle for from Ole Miss

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It seemingly could’ve been so simple for Ole Miss.

In the midst of an NCAA investigation into allegations levied against the football program, the university, in what its former head coach and its lawyer said was a concerted and organized effort, laid the lion’s share of the blame for the potential violations at the feet of Houston Nutt.  Nutt wasn’t pleased with the portrayal at the time the Notice of Allegations was issued in May of last year, and stated in May of this year that, if a public apology wasn’t forthcoming, he would file a defamation lawsuit against the university.

That apology never came, leading Nutt to file a lawsuit in mid-July alleging that Hugh Freeze and other Ole Miss officials engaged in a clandestine smear campaign to pin the allegations of NCAA violations on their former coach. The lawsuit levied some rather serious accusations, including Freeze allegedly conducting off-the-record conversations with prominent journalists and recruits to falsely spread the narrative that most of the recruiting violations occurred under Nutt’s watch.  It also, ultimately, led to the discovery of phone records that triggered Freeze’s ouster as head coach.

As it stands in the here and now, Nutt would still accept a public apology from all involved.  However, he won’t simply settle for a mea culpa as Nutt’s attorney has dug his heels in for what could prove to be a protracted and even nastier — and public — battle royale between the two sides.

“It’s difficult to answer that question without knowing when that might happen, if ever, and what other significant evidence we’ll develop in the meantime,” Nutt’s attorney, Thomas Mars, told the Jackson Clarion-Ledger when asked what would be considered suitable compensation. “Just in the past few weeks, for instance, we unexpectedly uncovered some very relevant and helpful evidence that we weren’t even looking for at the time.

“That information, and any other new evidence we find, would factor into our calculations of what we’d consider reasonable compensation for Coach Nutt.”

In response to latest developments, the university issued the following statement to the Clarion-Ledger.

Generally, in legal proceedings, the University of Mississippi allows its formal court filings to speak on its behalf. But to be clear, this case has no merit, and there is no reason to apologize. Further, it is clear Mr. Nutt’s suit seeks far more than an apology.

In other words, this lawsuit is not going away anytime soon, which means the legal pit bull that is Mars will continue digging… and digging… and digging until the university is sufficiently embarrassed and will have no choice but to settle.  And apologize.  Which is all it needed to do in the first place to avoid compounding an already-messy NCAA situation.

Miami fires offensive coordinator Josh Gattis after 1 season

josh gattis fired
Reinhold Matay/USA TODAY Sports
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CORAL GABLES, Fla. — Miami fired offensive coordinator Josh Gattis on Friday, ending the former Broyles Award winner’s time with the Hurricanes after only one season.

The school announced the move in a one-sentence press release, with no other detail: “Josh Gattis has been relieved of his duties as offensive coordinator, Miami head football coach Mario Cristobal announced Friday,” read the release, sent from a university spokesman.

The Hurricanes went 5-7 in Gattis’ lone season. He was brought in by Miami only a few weeks after winning the 2021 Broyles Award – given to the nation’s top assistant coach – while serving as Michigan’s offensive coordinator and helping the Wolverines reach the College Football Playoff.

But Miami’s offense, for a number of reasons, failed to meet expectations in 2022. Part of that was injuries; starting quarterback Tyler Van Dyke battled a shoulder injury, and the Hurricanes turned to Jake Garcia – who has since transferred – and Jacurri Brown for much of the season.

Miami scored 100 points in its first two games last fall, overpowering Bethune-Cookman and Southern Miss. The Hurricanes averaged only 18.3 points the rest of the way, and finished the year 5-0 in games where the defense allowed no more than 14 points – but 0-7 when opponents scored more than 14.

Miami was 86th nationally in total offense last season, averaging 367.1 yards per game, and 97th in scoring offense.

Gattis played at Wake Forest and worked at North Carolina, Western Michigan, Vanderbilt, Penn State, Alabama and Michigan before coming to Miami.

Audit: LSU discovered $1M overpayment to Kelly in 2022

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
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BATON ROUGE, La. – LSU accidentally overpaid Tigers football coach Brian Kelly by $1 million during the first year of a 10-year, $100 million contract, but discovered the error and has moved to correct it, the Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s office said Wednesday.

Kelly was overpaid $1,001,368 in supplemental payments in 2022 because duplicate payments made both to Kelly’s LLC and to the coach directly.

The double payments began in May and continued until LSU officials detected the errors in November.

“LSU management and the head football coach have enacted an adjusted payment schedule so the amount of overpayment will be recouped by the conclusion of fiscal year 2023,” the Legislative Auditor’s report stated.

Kelly, who previously coached at Notre Dame for 12 seasons, was hired by LSU after the 2021 season, when the Tigers went 6-7 for its first losing season since 1999.

LSU exceeded expectations in Kelly’s first season in Baton Rouge, winning the SEC West Division and finishing 10-4 after a 63-7 victory over Purdue in the Citrus Bowl.