Were you among the
general population of North America many who believed, publicly or privately, that at least some of Ole Miss' recent success was a result of cheating? Have you ever written "Ole Mi$$"?
Well today is a fun day for you!
Friday is the day before a major holiday weekend, and as such, is when organizations like to release negative information in hopes it will garner as little attention as possible. Ole Miss did that today. But I'm still here and you're still here, so let's get to it.
Just before Signing Day in February, the Rebels attempted to dismiss the allegations as mostly concerning other sports and of the handful of football violations, most came from actions during the Houston Nutt era (theirs, not ours).
Turns out, not the case people. Not the case.
There were 13 total football allegations and nine came under Hugh Freeze's staff. Four of those were Level I violations, which are the most serious.
Both the mothership and our friends at Red Cup Rebellion have excellent, thorough breakdowns of the allegations and self-imposed penalties, which I encourage you to read. I'll provide highlights here.
The self-imposed sanctions:
It's important to remember that these are the penalties Ole Miss has imposed on itself, basically as a show of good faith to the NCAA's Committee on Infractions, who will ultimately hand down any further sanctions they deem necessary.
The Rebels have have docked themselves 11 football scholarships over the span of four years, even though the first one counted against last year, which basically means they already only had 84 scholarship players on the roster, so they're pretending that counts as a self-imposed penalty. The others are two for the upcoming year (again, recruiting season is already over, so...), and four for each of the two following years. Here's a chart.
Those bullets above the chart also show other recruiting sanctions Ole Miss imposed on itself, which involve reduced evaluations and official visits.
The school also announced it's disassociating from the boosters involved and a fine of $159,325.
The questions now is whether or not the NCAA's COI will deem these penalties sufficient. They could, at minimum, impose more scholarship reductions, evaluations, and official visits. They can also vacate victories (Arkansas beat Ole Miss the last two years, so whatever. But it would be painful for them to wipe out those Alabama victories and/or the Sugar Bowl win.), suspend coaches, and/or even ban them from a bowl game.
It's all on the table, and these don't include any further allegations that may come from Laremy Tunsil's NFL Draft night fiasco.
Here are the Level I allegations:
- On multiple occasions, cars were allegedly loaned for an impermissible period to two players. It's been previously confirmed that Cannon Motors in Oxford loaned cars to Laremy Tunsil.
- A booster allegedly gave $800 cash to a relative of a player.
- A booster allegedly provided impermissible lodging to a player on multiple occasions.
- A booster allegedly provided four recruits with unspecified "inducements" totaling about $2,200. Assistant coach Maurice Harris was not only aware of this, but helped arrange the benefits for two of the recruits.
The Level II allegations:
- Ole Miss compliance staff allegedly failed to monitor the loaner car situation. Staffers allegedly learned of an improper loan in October of 2014 and didn't do anything about, making that player ineligible for six subsequent games he played in
- Assistant coach Chris Kiffin allegedly arranged for free meals and free nights at a hotel for a recruits family members
The Level III allegations:
- Kiffin allegedly provided two nights of impermissible lodging
- Kiffin allegedly had an impermissable 10-minute, off-campus conversation with two recruits
- Someone from the Ole Miss video department allegedly filmed recruits wearing Ole Miss gear in the IPF, then showed that video to the recruits and their parents
The Nutt era allegations:
- Former Houston Nutt assistants David Saunders and Chris Vaughn allegedly helped rig ACT results for three recruits in 2010.
- Saunders, Vaughn and current assistant Derrick Nix allegedly arranged for impermissible housing, meals and transportation in 2010.
- Vaughn allegedly lied to NCAA investigators in 2013.
- Saunders allegedly lied to NCAA investigators in 2013 and 2014.
Also, the women's basketball team and track team were found to be in trouble as well. The women's basketball team self-imposed a postseason ban for the upcoming year.
It's impossible to guess what the NCAA will so since precedent often turns out to be merely a theory in their eyes. If I had to guess, I'd be surprised if they didn't have to vacate a lot of those victories. What else happens could depend on if they discover anything else in the Tunsil investigation. Further scholarship reductions wouldn't surprise me, but you never know.
You can bet other schools will use this as a recruiting tool against them. Especially if the threat of a postseason ban or coaches getting suspended or fired is at all a possibility, and technically that is the case from this point until it's settled, which could take a while.