OXFORD, Miss. - Ed Orgeron insists Mississippi did nothing wrong by asking a Tulane assistant coach about the possibility of players transferring to Ole Miss if the Green Wave’s football team was dissolved in Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath.
“I just know that we did the right thing,” the Rebels coach said Monday. “We called an assistant coach and said that we heard that football may not be going on at Tulane, and we would like to go through the proper channels when the time comes. That’s all that happened.”
The dispute began earlier this month when Tulane coach Chris Scelfo accused an SEC school of tampering and said an assistant at the school contacted several players about transferring.
The program in question was confirmed later to be Ole Miss by athletic director Pete Boone. Green Wave assistant Greg Davis Jr. said the Rebels’ head coach contacted him about luring some of Tulane’s players to Oxford if the school eliminated the team.
Tulane spent the season on the road after they evacuated New Orleans in August and their home stadium, the Louisiana Superdome, was damaged by Katrina. The Green Wave’s 11-games-in-11-stadiums tour concluded last week with a loss at Southern Mississippi.
“In the worst natural disaster in the history of the United States, you’ve got to stoop pretty low to do that. You’re lower than dirt,” Scelfo said last month in a CBS Sportsline.com story. “I’m not going to tolerate that. There’s people in our business that don’t belong in our business.”
Scelfo has not commented on the subject since then, and neither he nor Davis could be reached Monday for comment. A Tulane spokeswoman did not immediately return a telephone message left by The Associated Press.
“The truth came out, and we felt that everything we did was ethical,” Orgeron said.
Boone said too much was being made of the situation because the talks took place out in the open.
“We did not do one thing that was unethical. Not one,” Boone said. “This is one of those things that you have to work through. As long as you know that every card you’re playing is on top of the table, then you smile and go on about your business and let the chips fall, because you know they’re going to fall right at the end of the day.”
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