Mississippi’s administration believed that its self-imposed penalties, including a one-year postseason ban, were sufficient punishment in its long-running NCAA rules violations case that included a charge of lack of institutional control.
The NCAA disagreed, and doled out more punishment Friday.
The sanctions include slapping the Rebels with postseason bans not only for this year, but 2018 as well. That decision means there probably won’t be any closure to the more than five-year-old saga any time soon.
Ole Miss says it hasn’t stopped fighting.
“We wish that this were over,” Ole Miss athletics director Ross Bjork said. “But there is more work to be done and that work has already started.”
Bjork and the school’s Chancellor Jeffrey S. Vitter said Ole Miss plans to appeal the NCAA’s two-year postseason ban. The NCAA says a school has 15 days to notify the appeals committee of its intent to appeal. Once the appeals committee acknowledges the request, the university has 30 days to file.
So Friday’s news turns out to be just the latest development in the ongoing case.
The NCAA Committee on Infractions said the case was similar to other Ole Miss rules violations cases in 1986 and 1994 and that the school had an “unconstrained booster culture.” The NCAA says six football staff members and 12 boosters contributed to the current violations.
“This is now the third case over three decades that has involved the boosters and football program,” the panel said 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.”
Ole Miss had also self-imposed other punishments in anticipation of Friday’s sanctions, including scholarship reductions and recruiting restrictions. The NCAA largely accepted those penalties, but the big addition was the extra year of postseason ineligibility.
Vitter believes the 2018 postseason ban was excessive.