Report: Nine rules violations linked to Freeze’s tenure

Published 12:01 pm Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Ole Miss’ football program has been linked to 13 of 28 rules violations alleged by the NCAA in the Notice of Allegations the school recently received, according to a report by the Associated Press.

Nine of the alleged violations have occurred during Hugh Freeze’s tenure, according to the report, which cited an anonymous source. The violations range from Level I, which the NCAA deems as most serious, to Level III.

The report comes a little more than a week after Ole Miss athletic director Ross Bjork said in a statement released Jan. 30 “many of the allegations” tied to the football program dated back to former coach Houston Nutt and his staff. Bjork added the NCAA was looking into the withholding and reinstatement this past season of offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil, who sat the first seven games as part of a suspension handed down by the NCAA after an investigation found Tunsil received impermissible benefits that included the use of three separate loaner cars over a six-month period without payment and a four-month interest-free promissory note on a $3,000 down payment on the purchase of a used vehicle.

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Bjork said school officials will not comment any further or release the official notice “until everyone has had an opportunity to review the allegations and respond.”

Many of the violations have already been self-reported by the school, which has 90 days to respond to the allegations. If the school disagrees with the alleged violations, it will go in front of the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions for a hearing.

The women’s basketball and track and field programs are also part of the investigation, which dates back to 2012. Then-women’s basketball coach Adrian Wiggins was fired before ever coaching a game because of academic misconduct and recruiting violations committed by two staff members, Kenya and Michael Landers, who were also let go.

Two players were ruled ineligible while the program self-imposed a postseason ban the following season as well as recruiting restrictions. Former track coach Brian O’Neal abruptly resigned last summer after three years at the helm in a move he said in a statement at the time that he believed was “in the best interests of the university and my own interests.”