After half a decade in the NCAA’s digestive system, the Ole Miss case finally reaches its conclusion today.
Here’s how the NCAA’s official release begins:
The University of Mississippi lacked institutional control and fostered an unconstrained culture of booster involvement in football recruiting, according to a Division I Committee on Infractions panel. Six football staff members and 12 boosters were involved in the violations, which included the provision of approximately $37,000 to prospects through cash payments, the use of automobiles, lodging, transportation, meals and apparel. Two staff members also helped arrange fraudulent standardized test scores for three prospects.
The panel found the involved head coach failed to monitor the program, allowing his staff to knowingly commit a series of recruiting violations, submit false information on recruiting paperwork and not report known violations.
- A 3-year probation, running from today through Nov. 30, 2020.
- A self-imposed fine of $180,000.
- Postseason bans for 2017 and 2018.
- A suspension of two conference games for Hugh Freeze should he be hired as a head coach for the 2018 season
- An 8-year show cause for Freeze’s operations coordinator
- A 5-year show cause for one assistant coach
- A 2-year show cause for another assistant coach
- A 5-year show cause for the assistant athletics director
- Vacating all wins involving ineligible players
- A reduction of 11 scholarships through 2018-19
- Self-imposed recruiting restrictions
- Self-imposed dissociation from boosters
In a letter to university supporters, chancellor Jeffrey Vitter says Ole Miss will appeal the 2018 bowl ban. He writes:
While we continue to review the full report, we will vigorously appeal the 2018 postseason ban. The additional postseason ban is excessive and does not take into account the corrective actions that we have made in personnel, structure, policies and processes to address the issues.
The panel noted that the case was the result of a culture at the university where rules violations were acceptable in the football program and reminiscent of similar Ole Miss infractions cases in the past. pic.twitter.com/gOmg6QiSwr
— NCAA (@NCAA) December 1, 2017
From the Ole Miss COI report: “football boosters continued a decades-long disdain for NCAA recruiting rules.”
— Bryan Fischer (@BryanDFischer) December 1, 2017
Considering the changes the NCAA made to no longer allow head coaches to plead ignorance of their assistants’ wrongdoing, Freeze getting off lighter than his lieutenants is, in a word, stunning.
Rising seniors will now be permitted to transfer without penalty, but all other players would be subjected to the same transfer rules as everyone else.
Here’s a breakdown of how the scholarship reductions break down.
Interim head coach Matt Luke was promoted to full-time head coach on Sunday.
The full 82-page report is available for reading here.
As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.