Why can’t Ole Miss and Mississippi State be friends?

Published 11:45 am Sunday, August 27, 2017

We hope that when Ole Miss’ NCAA case is finally closed late this fall that two bitter rivals can find a better way to coexist.

Healthy competition between Ole Miss and Mississippi State is good. Tearing one another down like we have seen during this NCAA investigation can be dangerous.

Just ask members of the old Southwest Conference.

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Football competition between many Texas schools in the Southwest Conference was so intense in the 1980s that multiple schools faced multiple probations from the NCAA which helped lead to the conference’s demise in 1996.

During the heightened probation period SWC schools were prone to cannibalization, snitching on one another to the point that it was detrimental to all.

The NCAA also has a role in this, pitting Mississippi State against Ole Miss by having player Leo Lewis as one of its key witnesses for a handful of charges. The NCAA should know better than making this an issue among rivals while granting immunity to one side.

We recognize that if rules are being violated, rules are being violated and Ole Miss has to answer to that. But we hope that the forthcoming NCAA hearing will signal a turning point for the Ole Miss and Mississippi State football relationship.

We prefer healthy competition among rivals rather than this.