Leo Lewis claims he was paid by Mississippi State teammate’s father at Ole Miss’ COI hearing

Published 2:35 pm Thursday, November 30, 2017

Ole Miss is set to receive the final ruling in its NCAA infractions case Friday.

How bad it is will depend heavily on the credibility of the governing body’s star witness, Mississippi State linebacker Leo Lewis, who reportedly revealed some new information in the case during his testimony at Ole Miss’ hearing with the Committee on Infractions back in September.

According to a story published by SBNation.com, which cited anonymous sources that confirmed details of the hearing, Lewis told the COI he received a $10,000 cash payment before signing with Mississippi State in February 2015 from Calvin Green, defensive backs coach at Copiah-Lincoln Community College and the father of MSU tight end Farrod Green.

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Sources also told SBNation that Lewis stated he met with former MSU coach Dan Mullen months before the NCAA began investigating Lewis’ recruitment in the summer of 2016 to discuss his recruitment by both schools. Lewis, who was granted limited immunity from sanctions at MSU in exchange for a truthful account of his recruitment by Ole Miss, did not reveal any of this information in previous interviews with the NCAA’s enforcement staff.

While money exchanging hands is one of the oldest forms of cheating in college athletics, it’s not always a violation of NCAA rules. Under NCAA Bylaw 12, prospective student-athletes are allowed to accept money from non-family members or guardians as long as their relationship was established before the player became a student-athlete, something Lewis and Green would have to prove. The bylaw also family members of a teammate to provide a player with money for “normal and reasonable living expenses” as long as they’re not an agent or a representative of a school recruiting that player.

What impact Lewis’ testimony may have had on the COI’s decision is unknown, but it’s another wrench in a long-winding case that may forced the COI to re-evaluate its decision. Friday will mark 80 days between the time Ole Miss’ COI hearing ended on Sept. 12 and the final verdict being issued whereas the ruling in most cases typically comes six to eight weeks afterward.

Ole Miss is facing 21 alleged rules violations with Lewis being involved in multiple Level-I charges. Lewis has alleged he received free apparel from Rebel Rags, an Oxford-based retail clothing company, and as much as $15,600 in payments from Ole Miss boosters.

Lewis is a co-defendant in an lawsuit filed by Rebel Rags, which is suing for defamation, commercial disparagement and civil conspiracy for what it believes where deliberately false statements made by Lewis and others in interviews with the NCAA’s enforcement staff.