NCAA Hits Ole Miss With Two-Year Postseason Ban

NCAA Hits Ole Miss With Two-Year Postseason Ban

NCAA Hits Ole Miss With Two-Year Postseason Ban

Things have gone from bad to worse for the Ole Miss Rebels.

The seemingly never-ending investigation by the NCAA into Ole Miss athletics is finally over - and the football program took the brunt of the penalties. The school had self-imposed a loss of 11, but the NCAA added 13 more.

Because of the two-year bowl ban, NCAA rules state Ole Miss players could become free to transfer elsewhere without sitting out a season.

Ole Miss had self-imposed a bowl ban for 2017, along with a reduction of 11 scholarships over a total of four years, prior to the news.

On Friday, the NCAA gave Ole Miss an additional postseason ban for 2018, stripped the school of two additional scholarships, put it on probation until November 30, 2020 and forced the vacation of wins.

The NCAA panel noted that this was the third case in 30 years involving Ole Miss boosters breaking rules, and said that even Freeze told them, "upon coming to MS, he was surprised by the "craziness" of boosters trying to insert themselves into his program".

Six football staff members and 12 boosters were involved in the violations, which included providing $37,000 to prospects through cash payments, use of automobiles, lodging, transportation, meals and apparel. The ruling said that Freeze promoted an atmosphere of rules compliance, but that he failed to monitor his staff.

The Rebels will also be on probation for three more years through November 30, 2020 and must pay a financial penalty of about $179,000.

Every coach mentioned in the Notice of Allegations received a show-cause penalty of some timeframe, including former head football coach Hugh Freeze (one year), former assistant athletic director for high school and junior college relations Barney Farrar and former assistant David Saunders, who worked for former coach Houston Nutt and was most recently at Louisiana-Lafayette (2011-14). Two staffers also arranged for fraudulent standardized test scores for three recruits. There will also be a vacation of wins ineligible athletes competed in. School officials removed the interim tag from head coach Matt Luke after his team's victory over their in-state rivals, but now faces an increasingly long road toward getting the Rebels back to national respectability. Phone records that showed Freeze calling numbers linked to escort services with his university phone came out during that lawsuit.

Bjork said the university would begin the appeals process for the postseason ban as quickly as possible.

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