University of Mississippi Hit With NCAA Sanctions

For the University of Mississippi, the wait is finally over. The NCAA finally handed down their punishment on the school. According to various sources, Ole Miss will be hit with a second bowl ban for 2018, even more, scholarship restrictions, and show causes for every coach involved in the notice of allegations. Consequently, the blow levied is as harsh as could be expected.

Here is the complete rundown of the penalties that the NCAA levied against the Rebels football program:

1. An additional bowl-ban year (2018), which means the first year of Matt Luke’s regime will be a “bowl-less” year.

2. Added probation, which will run concurrently with the current self-imposed probation, for a total of four years.

3. Harsh financial penalties to the school. Including the agreement to give up its share of the SEC postseason revenues. Which could be as much as $7.8 million.

4. Scholarship reduction of 13 over a period of years, which is in addition to the self-imposed 11 over four years.

5. All coaches named in the NCAA’s investigation received a show-cause. This essentially means an NCAA “blackball” for a period of time. Former assistant David Saunders’ show-cause runs for eight years. Former staffer Barney Farrar show-cause runs for five years. Hugh Freeze, former Rebels coach, who resigned for off-field issues in July, also received a suspension and show cause from the NCAA for failure to monitor his staff, although the length of the suspension and specifics of the show cause weren’t immediately known.

6. The NCAA requested the Rebels to disassociate themselves from all boosters and alumni named in the notice of allegations. Those boosters and alumni face accusations of providing recruits and players with improper benefits.

The NCAA accused the Rebels of 15 Level I violations, including lack of institutional control. The university appeared in front of the NCAA committee on infractions in Covington, Kentucky, on Sept. 11-12.  Ole Miss officials had hoped the NCAA would toss out the testimony of Mississippi State linebacker Leo Lewis. He told NCAA investigators that he received between $13,000 and $15,600 from an Ole Miss booster. All while the Rebels were recruiting him. Ole Miss also disputed charges that Lewis and Mississippi State defensive end Kobe Jones received free merchandise from Rebel Rags. Which is a sporting goods store in Oxford, Mississippi.

It is not the “death penalty” some thought the NCAA would invoke. However, these damaging penalties can set back the Ole Miss program for years. Thus, it will be up to head coach Matt Luke (not named in the Notice of Allegations), to steer the program through these muddy waters and hope for the best.


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Nick Ficorelli
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