Report: Tunsil’s text convo with staffer was real

Published 12:04 pm Friday, May 13, 2016

Ole Miss has confirmed the text conversation between Laremy Tunsil and a school staffer that was posted to one of Tunsil’s social media accounts the night he was drafted did happen, according to a report by ESPN.

ESPN, citing anonymous sources, also reported the school is still looking into whether the messages were altered before they were posted to the former Ole Miss offensive lineman’s account by a hacker. Phone calls previously made to Ole Miss athletic director Ross Bjork by the EAGLE seeking comment have not been returned.

Ole Miss said in a statement following the first round of the NFL Draft that it would aggressively investigate the situation after screenshots of text messages between Tunsil and Ole Miss assistant athletic director for football operations John Miller were posted to Tunsil’s Instagram account shortly after he was drafted 13th overall by the Miami Dolphins. The messages showed Tunsil asking Miller for money to help pay rent and family bills.

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Tunsil said during his post-draft press conference the messages were real and that he took money from a coach during his time at Ole Miss, which would be an NCAA violation.

In one of his alleged responses, Miller tells Tunsil to “see Barney next week,” presumably referring to Barney Farrar, assistant athletic director for high school and junior college relations. ESPN’s Joe Schad recently reported that Farrar denied Tunsil ever asked for or received any money from him.

Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said last week during the Southeastern Conference spring teleconference he wasn’t privy the details of the school’s investigation but that he was told “a lot of progress” had been made. Ole Miss is preparing its response to the NCAA’s investigation into the football, women’s basketball and track programs, which is due later this month.

It’s unclear whether Tunsil’s claim that he took money is already a part of the investigation because the school has not made public the Notice of Allegations it received in January.