It’s not a real school year until a major NCAA sports program commits a series of serious rule violations. Thankfully, Ole Miss is here to fill that void.
On Wednesday afternoon, the university announced a self-imposed postseason ban for 2017, following new allegations highlighted by the NCAA. In January 2016, the NCAA let the school know of 13 compliance allegations against its football program. Add that to Ole Miss’ description of the NCAA’s charges (the NCAA has yet to comment on the case) and the total count is up to a whopping 21.
In other words, you’re screwed.
Below is a list of the allegations, which reportedly all involve staffers under current head coach Hugh Freeze, who was hired in December 2011.
Charges Ole Miss Is Not Contesting
1. Hunting on a booster’s property: According to Ole Miss, the NCAA claims that a recruit took part in a hunting activity on private land near campus that was owned by a booster during his official visit in 2013. The recruit revisited the private land on “two or three” occasions, organized through the football program after he enrolled. This is an alleged Level III violation (Level I is the most serious).
2. Ole Miss provided lodging and transportation for recruits: A former Ole Miss staffer reportedly paid for lodging and transportation for recruiting trips, which is a Level I violation. From Ole Miss:
“Between March 2014 and January 2015, a former staff member (Former Staff Member A) impermissibly arranged for recruiting inducements in the form of lodging and transportation for one prospective student-athlete (Prospective Student-Athlete B) (who enrolled at another institution) and his companions on several visits to campus and for the impermissible transportation of another prospective student-athlete (Prospective Student-Athlete C) on one occasion. The total value of the lodging and/or transportation between the two prospective student-athletes is alleged to be $2,272. It is also alleged that the football program provided approximately $235 in free meals to Prospective Student-Athlete B (who enrolled at another institution) and Prospective Student-Athlete C and the friends of Prospective Student-Athlete B during recruiting visits in this same timeframe.”
3. Former staff member knowingly engaged in illegal recruiting practices: From March 2014 to February 2015, a former staff member provided “false or misleading information to the institution and enforcement staff in 2016.” Another Level I violation.
4. Contact between boosters and recruits and cash payments: Ole Miss is partially contesting this allegation, but a former staff member is accused of facilitating contact between a recruit and two boosters. It is alleged that this booster provided between $13,000 and $15,600 to the recruit. Level I.
Ole Miss is contesting the following allegations in full:
5. Impermissible merchandise: A former staff member is said to have arranged for a family friend of a recruit to be given merchandise from a booster-owned store in 2013. Another former staff member reportedly arranged for two other recruits to receive merchandise in 2014, 2015 and 2016, the NCAA claims. Level I.
6. Current Ole Miss coach had illegal contact with recruit: The NCAA says that a current Ole Miss coach allegedly had an “impermissible, in-person, off-campus contact” with a recruit in 2014. Level III.
7. Booster gave a recruit money and food: Between March 2014 and January 2015, a booster is said to have given a recruit and his companion money, food, drinks on “two-to-three” dates. The alleged violation is said to have occurred at the booster’s own restaurant. Level I.
8. Hugh Freeze violated “responsibility legislation”: Ole Miss says that Freeze was not personally involved in these violations, but is seen as responsible for the actions of his staff. Per the school:
“Although we disagree, according to the NCAA, Coach Freeze has not rebutted the presumption that he is responsible for his staff’s actions. This is charged as a Level I violation.”
9. A lack of institutional control at Ole Miss: The NCAA claims the university does not possess institutional control and “failed to monitor the conduct and administration of its athletics program.”
Ole Miss’ response:
“This charge replaces the more limited failure to monitor charge in the January 2016 Notice of Allegations. This is charged as a Level I violation that we will contest.”
Initial 13 Allegations
- Two former Ole Miss assistants helped change recruits’ ACT scores
- One Ole Miss booster gave a family member $800 in cash in August 2014
- Three Ole Miss assistants cheated in the 2010 recruitment of six players
- Players received financial help for car loans
- Ole Miss made personalized hype videos for recruits
- Assistant coach Maurice Harris allegedly helped connect recruits to a booster who was providing them with impermissible benefits
- Ole Miss paid for hotels and rental properties for family members of recruits without receiving return payment
- A “failure to monitor” charge
- Ole Miss assistant Chris Kiffin allowed a player to sleep on his couch without asking for return payment
- Kiffin had conversations with two high school players in an office where he wasn’t allowed
- Kiffin provided recruiting benefits to a man who was a “father figure” to a recruit and not his actual father
- The NCAA alleges that former Ole Miss staff members lied to investigators following their departures from Ole Miss