Ole Miss NCAA ruling, latest updates: Ole Miss hit with two-year bowl ban, three-year suspension

Published 8:30 am Friday, December 1, 2017

We will have more at the 1 p.m. press conference with Ole Miss athletics director Ross Bjork and Chancellor Vitter.

During teleconference Christopher said Freeze prompted atmosphere of compliance but failed to monitor it. Noted there are two sides to head coach responsibility.

Greg Christopher notes in NCAA teleconference that Ole Miss ‘failed to exercise control of its football program’ and ‘this case strikes at the heart of what college sports stands for.’

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In a letter sent out by Ole Miss Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter he states the program will ‘vigorously appeal’ the 2018 bowl ban.

The $179,000 fine is $50,000 on tip of a one percent fine from their overall football budget the next three years.

The 82-page report states Ole Miss ‘lacked control over its boosters and oversight of football recruiting activities. …the case is symptomatic of an out-of-control culture that has existed for decades.’

Ole Miss penalties include:

  • Three years of probation from Dec. 1, 2017, to Nov. 30, 2020.
  • A financial penalty of $5,000 plus 1 percent of its average football budget for three years, which was calculated at $179,797 (self-imposed by the university).
  • A postseason ban for the 2017 (self-imposed by the university) and 2018 seasons.
  • The head coach must serve a two-conference-game suspension for the 2018 season should any NCAA school hire him between Dec. 1, 2017, and Nov. 30, 2018.
  • An eight-year show-cause order for the operations coordinator, during which he must not hold any athletically related duties or have contact with prospective student-athletes and their families.
  • A five-year show-cause order for the assistant coach who facilitated standardized test fraud and living arrangements. He must not hold any athletically related duties during this time.
  • A two-year show-cause order for the other involved assistant coach. During this time, he must not participate in off-campus recruiting activities or hosting any meals for prospects or student-athletes.
  • A five-year show-cause order for the assistant athletics director. He must not participate in any recruiting activities during this time.
  • Vacation of all regular-season and postseason wins in which ineligible student-athletes competed.
  • Scholarship reductions through 2018-19, as detailed in the public report (self-imposed by the university).
  • Recruiting restrictions, as detailed in the public report.
  • Disassociation of boosters, as detailed in the public report (self-imposed by the university).

The NCAA report has been released and states the following about Freeze:

“The panel found the involved head coach failed to monitor the program, allowing his staff to knowingly commit a series of recruiting violations, submit false information on recruiting paperwork and not report known violations.”

Former Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze faces a one-year head coaching restriction and two-game suspension, if he is a head coach. If not, he can be a coordinator or assistant coach without penalty

ESPN’s Mark Schlabach is reporting that seniors will be eligible to transfer without penalty due to the second postseason ban being added in 2018

The full NCAA report will be disclosed at 10:30 a.m. CT

A source confirmed Ole Miss players are at the Manning Center for a team meeting regarding the NCAA news.

Clarion Ledger’s Antonio Morales reporting financial penalty for Ole Miss and show causes for coaches involved in investigation

UPDATE: Sources are reporting to Steven Godfrey of SBNation that Ole Miss has received a two-year bowl ban.

Godfrey tweeted out the following:

The long NCAA investigation of the Ole Miss football program will officially come to an end today.

The NCAA’s Committee on Infractions (COI) is expected to release sometime in the next hours. Typically, the NCAA releases such information at either 10 a.m. or noon and then Ole Miss officials will respond to the final ruling. A majority of the NCAA’s releases involving disciplinary decisions come at noon on Friday’s from the COI.

EAGLE reporters will be on the scene on campus and will have live updates on the latest news involving the Ole Miss NCAA ruling today. So bookmark this page and return for the latest news.

Ole Miss officials were expected to receive word of the NCAA ruling this morning, two hours before the NCAA releases the information, to have time to prepare remarks. We expect the university to hold a press conference sometime later today.

On Thursday, a report came out that Mississippi State player Leo Lewis, a key figure in the NCAA’s case against Ole Miss, offered new information during the COI hearing in September.

From the EAGLE Thursday: “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.

“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.

 Oxford EAGLE reporter Jake Thompson contributed to this report.