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Date set for Ole Miss’ hearing with Committee on Infractions

Ole Miss’ administrators always knew they’d get their chance to make their case as it relates to the NCAA’s long-running investigation into the football program.

Now they know exactly when and where that will happen.

The school’s hearing with the Committee on Infractions is scheduled for Sept. 11 at 7:30 a.m. CT in Covington, Kentucky. The COI has set aside as many as three days to hear the case, according to an appearance letter sent by the NCAA to Ole Miss Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter in July.

The school released the letter publicly after requests were made through the Mississippi Public Records Act.

The COI requested for athletic director Ross Bjork, senior associate director of athletics for compliance Matt Ball, associate director of athletics for compliance Julie Owen, faculty athletics representative Ron Rychlak and assistant coaches Maurice Harris and Derrick Nix to be present at the hearing but not former coach Hugh Freeze, who was forced to resign July 20 amid an escort scandal.

Freeze will reportedly attend the hearing.

Ole Miss is facing 21 alleged rules violations, 15 of them being Level I, or the most serious in the eyes of the NCAA. But the school challenged many of the charges in its response to the amended Notice of Allegations it received in February, including a lack of institutional control and alleged cash payments and other improper benefits provided to recruits by boosters.

The school is also contesting a failure-to-monitor charge against Freeze, whose tenure is responsible for producing 11 of the Level I charges. Bjork referenced Ole Miss’ response when asked recently if he thought Freeze’s ouster would help the school’s case.

“It’s hard to say. I believe the facts speak for themselves,” Bjork said. “We believe we have well documented in our response how we collectively ran the program along with Hugh Freeze, and you can’t take that away from us. Those are documented facts. We’re going to stick to that. We’re going to stick to our response. Honestly over the course of now and the time we go to our hearing, we’re going to strategize and make sure we put the university in the best position.”