OXFORD, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi football coach Lane Kiffin and the school have filed a motion seeking dismissal of a lawsuit filed by a Rebels player alleging racial and sexual discrimination and negligence.
The lawsuit filed in federal court in Oxford contends that DeSanto Rollins, a defensive tackle from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was kicked off the team during a mental health crisis. The school maintained in Wednesday's filing seeking dismissal that Rollins remains on the team and on scholarship.
He is still listed on the roster but has not played this season for the 10th-ranked Rebels, who visit No. 1 Georgia on Saturday.
Rollins, who is Black, is seeking $10 million in compensatory damages and $30 million in punitive damages. He claims he was not supported through his depression the way white and female athletes have been at Ole Miss.
Rollins’ playing career has been hampered by injuries, including a concussion and Achilles tendon injury in the spring and summer of 2022, that left him severely depressed, the lawsuit said.
Attorneys for the school and Kiffin contend that the coach “is not liable for intentional infliction of emotional distress.” They also challenged the validity of Rollins' claims regarding equal protection, discrimination and negligence and said the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi “should decline supplemental jurisdiction over Plaintiff's state law claims.”
Carroll Rhodes, an attorney representing Rollins, said Thursday that “what they filed was not accurate.”
“We'll be filing a response in due course,” said Rhodes, who is based in Hazlehurst, Mississippi.
Kiffin and Ole Miss are represented by attorneys from Mayo Mallette in Oxford and Foreman Watkins & Krutz based out of Jackson, Mississippi.
The lawsuit says Rollins recorded a meeting with Kiffin on March 21 when the coach said, "Go, you’re off the team. You’re done. See ya.”
While Rollins is still listed on the roster, both he and defensive end Isaac Ukwu, a transfer from James Madison who has played in every game, are listed as No. 99.
“Lane Kiffin had a malevolently ingenious way of kicking DeSanto Rollins off the team when he thought no one was listening,” Rhodes said.
The Associated Press has reached out to attorneys for Kiffin and Ole Miss seeking comment.
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