Former Ole Miss defensive tackle DeSanto Rollins is suing head coach Lane Kiffin and the university for failure to provide equal protection, racial and sexual discrimination, and other allegations, per a lawsuit filed Thursday.
Rollins says he was kicked off the team after missing practices due to mental health issues. The lawsuit claims that Kiffin intentionally took adverse action against Rollins “on account of race for requesting and taking a mental health break, but not taking adverse action against white student-athletes” for the same request. The suit also alleges sexual discrimination on the basis that Ole Miss has not taken “adverse action against female student-athletes for requesting and taking a mental health break.”
That’s some heavy allegations levied against the school and Kiffin, who just talked about helping his players with mental health crises during SEC Media Days back in July.
ESPN obtained audio of an alleged conversation between Rollins and Kiffin that the student recorded, though they were unable to independently verify it.
A voice that may have been Lane Kiffin told Rollins that he was kicked off the team and basically accused the former player of being soft for not wanting to play through his issues.
“Get out of here,” Kiffin reportedly said. “Go, you’re off the team. You’re done. See ya. Go. And guess what? We can kick you off the team.”
“It’s called being a *****,” Kiffin added. “It’s called hiding behind **** and not showing up to work.”
The school released this statement in part saying “We have not received a lawsuit” and that “DeSanto was never removed from the football team and remains on scholarship. In addition, he continues to have the opportunity to receive all of the resources and advantages that are afforded a student-athlete at the university.”
Rollins is suing the school for $40 million ($10 million in compensatory damages and $30 million in punitive damages).
Lane Kiffin has not commented on these allegations yet. If true, the school and especially Kiffin are in hot water.