An Ole Miss football player is suing coach Lane Kiffin and the school, alleging they are responsible for his ailing mental health.
DeSanto Rollins filed the suit Thursday, claiming Kiffin, members of the coaching staff and other employees of the university showed “reckless disregard” for his anxiety, and he is seeking $40 million.
An Ole Miss spokesman told ESPN Thursday night the school hadn’t received the lawsuit and that Rollins was still on the team. The current roster lists Rollins.
“We have not received a lawsuit. DeSanto was never removed from the football team and remains on scholarship,” the school told the outlet. “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.”
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Kiffin referred ESPN to the school’s statement.
Ole Miss didn’t immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.
In 2022, Rollins suffered two injuries — to an Achilles and a knee — that caused him “severe depression” that “substantially limited his ability to perform” regular daily activities. Rollins alleges he was not referred for a mental health evaluation when he also suffered a concussion before both of those injuries.
The suit says Rollins was “unaware of a need for a mental health evaluation or a mental health referral” because the school and football program failed to provide him with “mental health educational materials.”
“Neither Kiffin, the football coaching staff, nor football trainers were provided with role-appropriate training about the signs and symptoms of health disorders and the behaviors of student-athletes to monitor that may reflect psychological concerns,” the suit says.
Kiffin also forced Rollins to practice with the knee injury, the suit alleges.
After defensive line coach Randall Joyner told Rollins he should transfer, Rollins again felt “severe depression, anxiety, frustration, embarrassment, humiliation, feeling of worthlessness, sadness, loss of sleep, and loss of appetite.”
When Kiffin later told Rollins he was being demoted to the scout team in February, Kiffin then allegedly became “hostile and verbally threatening.” When Rollins told Kiffin he was taking a mental health break because of the coach, Kiffin “continued to yell at him in a hostile and verbally threatening tone.”
After the February meeting, Rollins again suffered from anxiety and “felt even more humiliated, embarrassed, undervalued, and unworthy.”
Kiffin then wanted to meet with Rollins again in early March, but they did not meet until March 21.
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In the meeting, Kiffin allegedly called Rollins a “p—-,” asking “what f—ing world” he lived in by not showing up to workouts and not meeting with Kiffin again. He also allegedly said Rollins was “hiding behind s—.” Rollins said he had not met with Kiffin again because he had taken a “mental break.” Kiffin also allegedly told Rollins he was “done” and “off the team.”
“Kiffin maliciously, deliberately, intentionally, and in blatant disregard for the rights and health of Rollins verbally assaulted him during the March 21, 2023 meeting knowing that Rollins was suffering mental and emotional anxiety, distress, and depression,” the suit says.
The suit says Kiffin kicked him off the team “because he requested to take a mental health break due to the anxiety, depression, and mental stress he was suffering.”
“Kiffin has never kicked a white football player off the team for requesting or taking a break,” but “has allowed a white football player who had been removed from the team to return to the team,” according to the suit.
The suit also says members of the women’s volleyball team were “allowed to take a mental break to deal with mental issues without being kicked off the volleyball team.” It also states that white female softball players were allowed to take a 14-day mental break without being kicked off the team.
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Kiffin’s actions and behavior were “intentional, deliberate, malicious, grossly negligent, negligent, and taken in reckless disregard for the rights and mental health of Rollins.”
The suit says Rollins now suffers from migraines and heart palpitations, along with “severe depression.”
Rollins appeared in two games last year and one the year prior.