Oxford residents react to NCAA ruling

Published 10:12 am Monday, December 4, 2017

The NCAA ruling in the case against Ole Miss resulted in a series of harsh sanctions placed on the football program, and the people of Oxford are in its wake.

The sanctions include an extension of the post-season ban, probation until 2020, scholarship reductions, a hefty fine and show cause penalties for staff members named in the case.

Residents expressed different levels of concern for various aspects of the verdict.

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Some say they are worried about the football team’s performance, while others say they are concerned about the effects the ruling will have for the university.

For graduate student Jennifer Tongret, the financial implications of the sanctions and scholarship reductions are most concerning.

“I’m a little confused, honestly, because of how it could affect us financially,” said Tongret. “It’s hurting future students and future athletes, when they’ve done nothing wrong.”

Other residents expressed concern for the way the NCAA conducted the case altogether.

“It’s sad. The NCAA isn’t a fair organization because they’re not part of the law,” said Oxford resident Bill Barnett. “They really put the hammer on us. At least now, it’s over.”

A sense of relief was a common thread for many people, but some expressed impending dread for next season.

Oxford resident Bob DeRuyscher said his biggest concern is how the sanctions will affect head coach Matt Luke and the current Rebels team.

“I feel bad for Luke, because you’re asking a young new coach to come in with these restrictions, when he didn’t cause it,” said DeRuyscher. “I don’t think the ruling was fair for the present players on the team, unless someone on the team created the errors.”

Due to the extension of the post-season ban, the NCAA will allow upcoming seniors to transfer without penalty.

Underclassmen on the team may transfer as well, but will have undergo the usual process with the NCAA and apply for a waiver to avoid sitting out for an academic year.

While this potential exit may scare some, others are hopeful. Visiting Rebel fan Brandon Smith says he is looking to the future.

“I think [the players] knew what they were getting into. If they’re going to leave, they’re going to leave, but I think they’ll stay,” said Smith. “I’m glad they’re off our doorstep, but I’ll be relieved when next season is over.”