NCAA hits Ole Miss with additional year of bowl ban, scholarship - Montgomery Alabama news.


NCAA hits Ole Miss with additional year of bowl ban, scholarship restrictions

Source: WLBT archives Source: WLBT archives

A years-long investigation into the University of Mississippi's football program has come to an end. 

On Friday, the NCAA announced the penalties for Ole Miss in the case involving improper recruiting and other violations.

Ole Miss received the ruling Friday morning and has been hit with an additional year postseason ban, loss of scholarships and financial penalties totaling $179,797.

RELATED STORY: Ole Miss Fans React To Sanctions

Also, coaches mentioned in the Notice of Allegations has received a show cause.

"For five years, the university failed to exercise control of its football program," said Greg Christopher, chief hearing officer and athletics director at Xavier, during the NCAA COI teleconference. "This case strikes at the heart of what college sports stand for."

Former Rebels coach Hugh Freeze, who resigned after what Ross Bjork called  "a concerning pattern" of misconduct was found when going over Freeze's phone records, received a one-year head coach restriction and a two-game suspension from the NCAA for failure to monitor his staff.

In the teleconference, Christopher said Freeze promoted atmosphere of compliance, but failed to monitor, which led to his restrictions and penalties. 

READ MORE: Bjork: "Concerning pattern" of misconduct led to Freeze's forced resignation

The two game suspension is only for head coaching positions. If he takes a coordinator or assistant’s job, there would be no restrictions. 

The show-cause penalty would require any school wanting to hire Freeze and any other coach to appear before the infractions committee.

University of Mississippi Chancellor Jeffery Vitter released a statement saying the school would appeal the additional postseason ban.

While we continue to review the full report, we will vigorously appeal the 2018 postseason ban. The additional postseason ban is excessive and does not take into account the corrective actions that we have made in personnel, structure, policies and processes to address the issues.

Vitter further explained that the school will appeal the postseason ban and the lack of institutional control, along with other aspects of the penalties that are to be determined. 

Bjork said the appeals process typically takes 3-6 months and Ole Miss has 15 days to file an appeal following the NCAA ruling.

"Let me be clear. Today is a sad day for the Ole Miss family," said Vitter in Friday's press conference. ""My heart breaks for the young men in our program."

"This is a gross misapplication of the charge of lack of institutional control," added Bjork.

Vitter says something changed in the investigation shortly before draft night in 2016 and he said that the NCAA blocked Ole Miss from performing their own investigation with their sources of information

You can watch the full press conference here.

The Rebels, who were accused of 15 Level I violations, ranging from former staffers allegedly fixing ACT scores to get recruits qualified for the football team to recruits allegedly hunting on boosters’ private land, including lack of institutional control, appeared in front of the NCAA Committee on Infractions in Covington, Kentucky, on September 11-12.

RELATED: Ole Miss meeting NCAA Committee on Infractions

The university received its Notice of Allegations, which detailed these charges, from the NCAA’s Enforcement Staff on February 22.

Ole Miss announced a self-imposed postseason ban and scholarship restrictions that same day.

READ MORE: Ole Miss football announces one-year postseason ban following new NCAA violations

With the self-imposed postseason ban, the university forfeited nearly $8 million in postseason revenue.

The additional two-year bowl ban includes the 2017 season and the Rebels will be eligible for a bowl following the 2019 season

An NCAA spokesperson confirmed to ESPN that Ole Miss seniors will be allowed to transfer without penalty because of the postseason ban for 2018.

According to NCAA rules, "It is not necessary for an institution to obtain permission in writing to recruit a student-athlete at an institution that has been placed on probation with sanctions that preclude it from competing in postseason competition during the remaining seasons of the student-athlete's eligibility. However, the student-athlete's institution must be notified of the recruitment and may establish reasonable restrictions related to the contact (e.g., no visits during class time), provided such restrictions do not preclude the opportunity for the student-athlete to discuss transfer possibilities with the other institution."

The Rebels also were told by the NCAA to disassociate themselves from each of the boosters named in the notice of allegations, who were accused of providing recruits and players with improper benefits.

What exactly did the Committee on Infractions find?

Penalties and corrective actions imposed by the panel 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).

For links to all public documents, click here.

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