The NCAA banned the? Ole Miss?football team from playing in the postseason in 2018, the Rebels were hit with scholarship reductions and former coach Hugh Freeze was suspended as part of the penalties handed down by the NCAA committee on infractions Friday.
The University of Mississippi released a statement saying it would “vigorously appeal” the postseason ban, which it deemed “excessive” and “does not take into account the corrective actions that we have made in personnel, structure, policies and processes to address the issues.”
Ole Miss (6-6) will not participate in the 2017 postseason because of a self-imposed one-year bowl ban announced in February.
In the NCAA’s ruling, the Rebels, who were accused of 15 Level I violations, were admonished for lacking institutional control and fostering “an?unconstrained culture of booster involvement in football recruiting.”
“This is now the third case over three decades that has involved the boosters and football program,” the panel stated in its decision. “Even the head coach acknowledged that upon coming to Mississippi, he was surprised by the ‘craziness’ of boosters trying to insert themselves into his program. At the hearing, Mississippi’s chancellor acknowledged his institution’s problem with boosters, characterizing one instance as ‘disturbingly questionable.'”
Greg Christopher, the chief hearing officer for the NCAA and athletics director at Xavier, said during a conference call Friday that, while the committee thought the self-imposed infractions were sufficient elsewhere, the additional bowl ban was given because of “the seriousness of the case and the situation and what was appropriate.”
“The case strikes at the heart of what college sports stands for,” Christopher said.
Ole Miss will file its notice of appeal early next week, athletic director Ross Bjork said, and will submit materials that it will also make public on its website. He said that the process from appeal to completion should take 3-6 months.
“There’s anger, there’s frustration, there’s sadness,” Bjork said. “But now we have to get back to work.”
According to the NCAA, six football staff members and 12 boosters were involved in the violations, which included the provision of approximately $37,000 to prospects through cash payments, the use of automobiles, lodging, transportation, meals and apparel. Two staff members also helped arrange fraudulent standardized test scores for three prospects.
Freeze, who resigned for off-field…