Texts reportedly show Mississippi governor told Brett Favre push for volleyball arena could be illegal – Yahoo Sports

Texts reportedly show Mississippi governor told Brett Favre push for volleyball arena could be illegal - Yahoo Sports

Even more text messages regarding Brett Favre’s push for a Southern Miss volleyball arena have surfaced. Again they do not think well of the former Green Bay Packers quarterback

A recent court filing revealed texts showing Favre continued to press Mississippi state officials for funding, even after then-Gov. Phil Bryant abuse of state funds could be illegal, according to ESPN. Favre also reportedly pressed for help in building an indoor football facility to aid the Golden Eagles’ recruiting efforts.

As one text showed, Bryant explicitly mentioned that some of these funds came from a federal program intended for families in need (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF) and that improper use of the funds is illegal:

On July 28, 2019, Bryant texted Favre that the founder of a nonprofit that paid him “has some limited control over Federal Funds in the form of Grants for Children and adults in the Low Income Community.”

“Use of these funds [is] tightly controlled,” Bryant wrote, according to the filing. “Any improper use could result in a violation of Federal Law. Auditors are currently reviewing the use of those funds.”

Favre has so far claimed not to know the origin of the money he allegedly funneled to the volleyball stadium, although a recent filing of other texts earlier this month showed him seeking funds from Bryant and Nancy New, who is the head of the Mississippi Community Education Center at the center of the scandal. At one point, Favre was seen asking “If you had to pay me, is there anyway the media can find out where it came from and how much?” in 2017.

That pursuit would presumably see $5 million granted to build the volleyball arena for his alma mater and $1.1 million given personally to Favre to further assist the project. His daughter recently played volleyball for Southern Miss.

SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 27: Former NFL quarterback Brett Favre wears a shirt that reads

Brett Favre’s role in an alleged Mississippi welfare scheme keeps looking worse and worse. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

All of that money apparently wasn’t enough for the arena, as Favre allegedly continued to appeal personally to Bryant, who is also a Southern Miss alum.

From ESPN:

According to the filing, Favre texted Bryant on Sept. 4, 2019, after a meeting they and others were to discuss requesting an additional $1.8 million to $2 million for programs at the new facility.

“We obviously need your help a lot and time is working against us,” Favre wrote. “And we feel that your name is the perfect choice for this facility and we don’t take No for an answer! You are a Southern Miss Alumni, and people need to know that you are also a supporter of the University.”

Bryant responded, according to the filing: “We’ll get there. This was a great meeting. But we have to follow the law. I have to[o] old for Federal Prison.”

Favre’s persistence seemed to wear on Bryant and others, such as then-Southern Miss president Rodney Bennett. While Favre, who earned more than $100 million in salary during his NFL career, apparently pledged his own money to help build the arena, he allegedly asked Bryant in 2020 for a legislative appropriation to cover his debt.

In texts between Bryant and Bennett, the two men sound perplexed that Favre didn’t understand why the state of Mississippi wouldn’t give him a bailout:

The next day, Favre texted Bryant that he had spoken with “Tate” — current Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves — and encouraged Bryant to keep pushing as well, according to the filing. Bryant also texted Bennett, who replied that he “asked Brett not to do the things he’s doing to seek funding from state agencies and the legislature.”

“As you know, IHL [Mississippi’s higher education system] has a process of how we request and get approval for projects and what he’s doing is outside of those guidelines,” Bennett wrote. “I’ll see, for the ‘next time’ if we can get him to back off. The bottom line is he personally guaranteed the project, and according to his word and handshake we continued. It’s time for him to pay up – it really is that simple.”

Bryant replied: “Maybe he wants the state to pay his promises. Like all of us I like Brett. He’s a legend but he needs to understand what a promise means. I’ve tried many times.[s] to explain it to him.”

Somehow, the volleyball hoop wasn’t even the end of Favre’s effort to pull in money for his alma mater.

Brett Favre supposedly pushed for a Southern Miss indoor football facility, too

Even more texts reported by ESPN show Favre asking Bryant to expand a funding request from the MDHS to help build an indoor facility for the Southern Miss football program, reportedly to aid the school’s pursuit of three-star quarterback recruit Shedeur Sanders.

From ESPN:

Bryant’s filing also says Favre, in the July 28, 2019 text exchange, “expanded his MDHS funding request” to include a new football facility to help lure Deion Sanders’ son, highly sought after quarterback Shedeur, to Southern Miss.

“As I suspected, Deion’s son asked where the indoor facility was and I said [we] don’t have one but [we] hope to break ground in less than 2 years,” Favre texted Bryant, according to the filing. “Now that won’t happen without your help/commitment!!! I know we have to get the Vball done first and I’m asking a lot with that and I believe 100% that if you can do that Nancy will reach out and help a lot and in the recruiting war. [a new indoor practice facility] will give USM[‘s football program] instant credibility and [USM football will] become relevant again.”

Sanders would later commit to Jackson State, where his father, Hall of Famer Deion Sanders, is head coach.

Brett Favre faces civil suit, losing sponsors

Favre has not been reported to be facing criminal charges, although multiple people involved in the alleged scheme, including Nova and former Mississippi Department of Human Services director John Davis, pleaded guilty for their roles. The FBI also reportedly questioned him on the matter.

On the civil side, Favre is among the defendants in the state of Mississippi’s lawsuit to recover its funds. Favre reportedly repaid $1.1 million, but the state also chasing $228K in interest from the Hall of Fame.

The scandal, which has only grown since Favre’s alleged involvement was revealed by a state auditor in 2020, has begun to noticeably affect Favre’s public profile.

His weekly appearances on ESPN Milwaukee were paused indefinitely, while two more outlets have not featured him since September 13.. Additionally, two companies that sponsor him recently removed him from their websites.

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