How will NCAA’s infractions ruling affect Ole Miss’ recruiting?

Published 2:05 pm Monday, December 4, 2017

The major penalties handed down in Ole Miss’ infractions case Friday were a multi-year bowl ban extending to the 2018 season, 13 total scholarship reductions over a four-year period and four years of probation running concurrent with the current probation period.

Part of the sanctions also included recruiting restrictions. Most of them were previously self-imposed by the school in response to the original Notice of Allegations it received in 2016, but there were some added.

One of them is limiting each recruit to one unofficial visit to campus per academic year for the duration of the school’s probation, which runs through 2020. Under normal circumstances, prospective student-athletes can take an unlimited number of unofficial visits to any school during their recruitment beginning their sophomore year of high school.

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Unlike official visits, recruits and their families must pay their own way on unofficial visits, though the school is allowed to provide complimentary tickets if a recruit visits during a game weekend. In theory, any player Ole Miss is recruiting could visit campus on his own dime for multiple game weekends in an academic year, but the school would only be able to provide tickets for one of those games.

Ole Miss could appeal the restriction. The school is already planning to appeal next season’s bowl ban and the charge of a lack of institutional control.

Ole Miss prohibited unofficial visits this season from Sept. 1 to Oct. 19 and for five weeks during the fall of 2016 as part of its self-imposed penalties. The school also reduced official visits by nearly 20 percent for the 2014-15 academic year and the number of the football staff’s evaluation opportunities by 10 percent in the spring of 2015 and by 12.5 percent in the spring of 2016.

Ole Miss’ scholarship restrictions are also two more than the 11 the school originally self-imposed over a four-year period. One of those was reduced from the 85-scholarship limit during the 2015-16 academic year, two were reduced for the 2016 season, six were reduced this season, and four will be stripped for the 2018-19 academic year, leaving the Rebels with 81 scholarships for next season.

Ole Miss has 11 verbal commitments for the 2018 class with defense being a focal point. The early signing period begins Dec. 20, though it’s unclear how many players in the class will sign then.