Ole Miss has responded to the NCAA’s investigation with several self-imposed penalties. But the real problems are still around the corner.
Ole Miss is very, very, very sorry. And this is all before the Laremy Tunsil stuff hits the fan.
The school imposed its own penalties in a response to the NCAA notice of allegations delivered several weeks ago. These are mainly suggestions, and they’re a start before the NCAA gets the final say on what the real penalties will be.
Of the 13 currently alleged violations, nine of them came under head coach Hugh Freeze’s time with the program including a few paid hotel stays, paid cell bills and loaner cars, along with ties to a past administration that allegedly provided help for some players to pass the ACT.
Here’s how the school is slapping the football program on the wrist.
– Two assistant coaches have been suspended and four coaches in all were fired.
– The school is paying a penalty of $159,325.
– There’s a proposed reduction of 11 scholarships – one in 2015, two in 2016, and four in 2017 and 2018.
– A reduction in off-campus visits and evaluations. This sort of matters for the recruiting world, but it’s a murky punishment.
– All the Jim Bob booster types involved don’t get to have anything to do with the program anymore.
Most of the previous allegations of improprieties at Ole Miss supposedly revolved around women’s programs, former football coach Houston Nutt, and things that all seemed to happen a long, long time ago. But now, current head coach Freeze’s era is getting tagged, and the juicy stuff seems to be just around the corner.
What’s not a part of all this fun quite yet is everything that went down at the NFL Draft.
In case you forgot, someone got mad at ol’ Laremy, posted a video of him looking like a cross between a bong-smoking extra in a Marilyn Manson video and a rogue character in a Tarantino flick, and then came the Instagram leak, and then came Tunsil being the first soul in the history of college athletics to actually answer in the affirmative when asked if he was ever given anything improper.
And now Ole Miss isn’t ready yet. It had to figure out Part One of all the NCAA findings with the response today, but it needs more time to figure out exactly how to deal with the potentially massive part of the problem.
In their “Letter to the Ole Miss Family” about the current NCAA case, Chancellor Jeffrey S. Vitter and Director of Athletics Ross Bjork had this key paragraph near the end – and it might be the key part of this whole thing going forward.
“On the first day of the 2016 NFL Draft, new information came to light involving a former football student-athlete. That very night, the University and NCAA began a joint review to determine whether bylaws have been violated, and we hope this review will be concluded soon. To ensure fairness to all parties and pursuant to COI procedure, we have asked the COI to remove the hearing from this summer’s docket until this review can be completed and closed.”
To translate, they’ve still got to figure this one out.
With what happened today, Ole Miss is acknowledging that there were mistakes and problems as it plays stall ball on the Tunsil disaster. The proposed penalties will matter a little bit, but they’re hardly a deathblow and the NCAA will still have to weigh in.
In the end, no one cares about scholarship reductions, or anything else that’s coming out of this. There are no Baylor-incident, true social ramifications here – some players got some stuff.
The second the ball is kicked off against Florida State in Orlando on Monday night, September 5th, this will all be just a quirky side note.
But stay tuned. The NCAA isn’t done with this yet, and once the Tunsil side of this kicks in, then this will get really interesting.