The NCAA and University of Florida head football coach Dan Mullen, who previously served in the same role at Mississippi State, were named in a lawsuit filed Tuesday by Rebel Rags, a retail store in Oxford, Mississippi, related to an NCAA investigation into Ole Miss' football program.
Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports first reported the news, noting NCAA investigator Mike Sheridan and former Mississippi State athletic director Scott Stricklin, who hired Mullen at Florida, were also listed in the suit. Antonio Morales of Mississippi-based newspaper the Clarion Ledger confirmed the details.
Others named in the wide-ranging lawsuit include Mississippi State players Leo Lewis and Kobe Jones as well as Lindsey Miller, the estranged stepfather of former Ole Miss offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil, per Morales.
Rebel Rags' legal complaint alleges the defendants committed defamation, civil conspiracy and commercial disparagement that led to it being named in the NCAA's Notice of Allegations against Ole Miss.
The Clarion Ledger report noted the Committee on Infractions deemed statements from Lewis, Jones and Miller about receiving free merchandise from Rebel Rags as "credible." The store said the individuals "knowingly provided false information" to the NCAA.
Meanwhile, the lawsuit states the remaining defendants were involved in an "overarching conspiracy" against the store, leading to its involvement in the NCAA case against Ole Miss.
A similar suit was filed by Rebel Rags last June against Lewis, Jones and Miller. Attorney Charles Merkel, representing the store, told Morales the cases will be merged to avoid potential issues with the statute of limitations.
The NCAA announced in December that Ole Miss would receive three years of probation and a two-year postseason ban because it "lacked institutional control" within the football program. Among the other punishments was disassociation with Rebel Rags owner Terry Warren.
Ole Miss filed an appeal of the ruling, saying the Committee on Infractions "abused its discretion, departed from precedent, committed procedural errors and reached factual conclusions inconsistent with the evidence."