• 59°

Ex-Ole Miss staffer Barney Farrar disputes charges in response to Notice of Allegations

Barney Farrar’s rebuttal is public.

In his response to the amended Notice of Allegations Ole Miss recently received as part of the NCAA’s investigation into the football program, the Rebels’ former off-field staff member refuted all of the charges against him. The EAGLE obtained Farrar’s response, which was filed on May 23 by his attorney, Bruse Loyd, through a public records request.

Ole Miss publicly released its 124-page response to the amended NOA on Tuesday. The program is facing 21 charges of rules violations with Farrar being named in four Level-I allegations.

Farrar disputed each charge to some extent, including a complete denial that he arranged and knew about cash payments ranging from $13,000 to $15,600 made from an unnamed booster to then-linebacker recruit Leo Lewis, a one-time Ole Miss commit who signed with Mississippi State in 2015. Farrar claimed Lewis, who was granted limited immunity from possible sanctions at MSU in exchange for truthful accounts of his recruitment by Ole Miss, accepted $11,000 to sign with MSU.

Citing privacy laws, Ole Miss redacted the names of recruits and third parties in Farrar’s response, but the school indirectly identified Lewis in its response to the NOA by including a screenshot of the Joker GIF Lewis tweeted the same day the university announced it had received an amended NOA in February.

Like Ole Miss did in its response, Farrar challenged Lewis’ intentions by claiming his story regarding the alleged payments changed in multiple interviews with the NCAA’s enforcement staff.

“(Redacted’s) testimony is methodically inconsistent,” part of Farrar’s response said.

Farrar also fully denied allegations that he arranged for Lewis and other recruits to receive approximately $2,800 in free merchandise from a booster’s store. He took responsibility for recruits receiving free meals and knowing about improper transportation on recruiting visits but denied the arranging impermissible benefits, including free hotel rooms.

Farrar also denied knowingly misleading and lying to Ole Miss and the enforcement staff when interviewed about his involvement in violations on Dec. 1, 2016.

Farrar was fired a week after that interview after five seasons as the Rebels’ assistant athletic director for high school and junior college relations. He was placed on administrative leave in November.

“Before this February, his reputation and character were beyond reproach. In over 30 years at more than half a dozen NCAA Division 1/FBS football programs, not one single accusation of wrongdoing has ever been directed at Coach Farrar,” Farrar’s response said. “Today, Coach Farrar’s reputation and career in college football are ruined. Both destroyed based on the accusations of one highly suspect individual (Redacted).”

Loyd issued a statement on his client’s behalf Wednesday accusing decision makers at Ole Miss, which has self-imposed a bowl ban for next season, of throwing Farrar “under the bus” and conspiring against him.

Yet Farrar went to bat for Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze in his response, saying his former boss never asked him to break rules while he was on staff. The school is contesting a failure-to-monitor charge against Freeze.

“Farrar expresses his hope that this panel will give Ole Miss and Hugh Freeze every opportunity and consideration in these proceedings,” the response said. “It is deserved.”

Should the charges against Farrar stick, he could be hit with a show-cause penalty, which would require any school interested in hiring him to appear before the Committee on Infractions to argue why it shouldn’t have the same sanctions imposed on it.