Report: Ole Miss wants Leo Lewis, Kobe Jones to appear at infractions hearing

Published 10:22 am Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Ole Miss will have its hearing with the Committee on Infractions in the coming months, and the school wants Leo Lewis and Kobe Jones to be there when it does.

Lawyers representing the school and former coaches and administrators who have been accused of violating rules as part of the NCAA’s investigation into the football program have requested that the two Mississippi State players be required to attend the hearing, according to an ESPN report. Citing anonymous sources familiar with the case, ESPN’s Mark Slabach reported that NCAA officials have told Ole Miss’ representation that Lewis and Jones may be asked to appear before the COI to answer questions about their role in the investigation.

What’s unclear is if the two will actually attend. Attorneys John Wheeler and Christopher Shapley, who are representing Lewis and Jones, respectively, are bound by confidentiality and can’t comment.

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Lewis and Jones have become key figures in the long-running probe after claiming they received thousands of dollars worth of free merchandise from Rebels Rags, an Oxford-based retail clothing store, while on visits during their recruitment. Lewis has also claimed he received cash payments ranging from $13,000-$15,600 from an Ole Miss booster.

The NCAA granted Lewis and Jones limited immunity from possible sanctions at MSU in exchange for truthful accounts of their recruitment by Ole Miss.

Rebel Rags has taken issue with the players’ testimony, filing a defamation lawsuit in Lafayette County Circuit Court in June. Store owner Terry Warren is also suing Lewis, Jones and Lindsey Miller, the estranged stepfather of former Ole Miss star Laremy Tunsil, for commercial disparagement and civil conspiracy for what he believes were false statements made intentionally by all three defendants when interviewed by the NCAA.

The store accused the defendants of conspiring with MSU officials in a response it filed Friday to Jones’ motion to dismiss, sever from Lewis and Miller and change venues for the case.

Ole Miss, which is facing 21 charges of rules violations, including 15 Level I allegations, filed its response in May to the amended Notice of Allegations it received from the NCAA. The school has received the NCAA’s case summary and will release it on its web site in the coming days, athletic director Ross Bjork said Monday.

The school’s COI hearing will be scheduled for later this summer, likely either late August or September.