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Ole Miss hit with 2018 bowl ban, additional penalties from NCAA

Vaught-Hemingway Stadium at Ole Miss. Photo courtesy of Telesouth Communications Inc.


In a letter posted to his office’s website, Ole Miss Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter has stated that the University will “vigorously appeal” the 2018 bowl ban handed down by the NCAA.

“Today, the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions issued its report to the University of Mississippi regarding the NCAA investigation of the football program.  In the report, the committee disagreed with the institution’s position on most of the contested allegations.  In addition to accepting our previously self-imposed sanctions, the committee has imposed a postseason ban for 2018.

While we continue to review the full report, we will vigorously appeal the 2018 postseason ban. The additional postseason ban is excessive and does not take into account the corrective actions that we have made in personnel, structure, policies and processes to address the issues.”


The NCAA has officially released their ruling in the Ole Miss case claiming that the program “lacked institutional control”. In post on the NCAA website, the governing body detailed the penalties which are in line with reports from Friday morning.

“Penalties and corrective actions imposed by the panel include:

  • Three years of probation from Dec. 1, 2017, to Nov. 30, 2020.
  • A financial penalty of $5,000 plus 1 percent of its average football budget for three years, which was calculated at $179,797 (self-imposed by the university).
  • A postseason ban for the 2017 (self-imposed by the university) and 2018 seasons.
  • The head coach must serve a two-conference-game suspension for the 2018 season should any NCAA school hire him between Dec. 1, 2017, and Nov. 30, 2018.
  • An eight-year show-cause order for the operations coordinator, during which he must not hold any athletically related duties or have contact with prospective student-athletes and their families.
  • A five-year show-cause order for the assistant coach who facilitated standardized test fraud and living arrangements. He must not hold any athletically related duties during this time.
  • A two-year show-cause order for the other involved assistant coach. During this time, he must not participate in off-campus recruiting activities or hosting any meals for prospects or student-athletes.
  • A five-year show-cause order for the assistant athletics director. He must not participate in any recruiting activities during this time.
  • Vacation of all regular-season and postseason wins in which ineligible student-athletes competed.
  • Scholarship reductions through 2018-19, as detailed in the public report (self-imposed by the university).
  • Recruiting restrictions, as detailed in the public report.
  • Disassociation of boosters, as detailed in the public report (self-imposed by the university).”

In their post, the NCAA claims that the violations were a product of the culture inside the Ole Miss program.

“The panel noted that the case was the result of a culture at the university where rules violations were acceptable in the football program and reminiscent of similar Ole Miss infractions cases in the past.” 

Among the violations specifically listed in the NCAA report are cash payments made to recruits, fraudulent ACT scores, providing false and misleading information during interviews and several more.

Original Report:

After a five-year investigation and 11 weeks following their meeting with the Committee on Infractions, Ole Miss has reportedly received their long-awaited final ruling and penalties in the NCAA case.

If reports are correct, the NCAA has imposed further penalties against the program for the 21 allegations that were brought about throughout the investigation. Chuck Rounsaville with the Ole Miss Spirit tweeted potential penalties citing an unnamed source.

While Ole Miss has not yet confirmed these to be accurate, Steven Godfrey with has listed similar penalties to Rounsaville with the addition of a show cause for those named in the allegations:

  • an additional bowl-ban year (2018)
  • probation running concurrently with current probation for a total of four years financial penalties
  • a 13-scholarship reduction for three years
  • and every coach named in the NCAA’s investigation has received a show-cause (essentially an NCAA blackball for a period of time). That wouldn’t include new head coach Matt Luke, who wasn’t named. Former assistant David Saunders’ show-cause runs for eight years. Former staffer Barney Farrar faces five.

With the additional penalties, Ole Miss players would be able to transfer without sitting out for a year, so the Rebel roster may look different when they take the field in 2018.

ESPN’s Mark Schlabach is reporting that former Rebel head coach Hugh Freeze is facing a one-year head coaching restriction and a two-game suspension if he were to become a head coach in college football.

Back in February after receiving the second NOI, Ole Miss self-imposed a bowl ban for 2017 and forfeited close to $8 million in revenue. The self-imposed penalties also included a double-digit reduction in scholarships and recruiting limits.

Ole Miss was expected to receive the notice at 8:30 a.m. before making the ruling public later in the day.


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