The program already self-imposed several penalties on itself, including a reduction of 11 scholarships over the course of four years, a $150,000 fine and a ban on postseason play in 2017. "Even the head coach acknowledged that upon coming to MS, he was surprised by the "craziness" of boosters trying to insert themselves into his program". The NCAA also levied financial penalties and a probationary period, but the biggest news here involves scholarships and the 2018 bowl ban, which allows Ole Miss seniors-to-be the opportunity to transfer without restriction.
This has been a long and winding road for Ole Miss, which included former coach Houston Nutt claiming the school defamed him by claiming numerous alleged infractions happened during his tenure. In addition to accepting our previously self-imposed sanctions, the committee has imposed a postseason ban for 2018. Bjork said the appeal will be launched "right away".
The complicated case consisted of 21 alleged violations, including 15 that were Level I, which the NCAA considers the most serious. Phone records that showed Freeze calling numbers linked to escort services with his university phone came out during that lawsuit. Former assistant David Saunders' show-cause runs for eight years.
Ole Miss also agreed to forfeit its share of SEC postseason revenues for next season, which could be as much as $7.8 million, ESPN reported. The university disputed charges that Lewis and Mississippi State defensive end Kobe Jones received free merchandise from Rebel Rags, a sporting goods store in Oxford, Miss. The ruling said that Freeze promoted an atmosphere of rules compliance, but that he failed to monitor his staff.
"It is not necessary for an institution to obtain permission in writing to recruit a student-athlete at an institution that has been placed on probation with sanctions that preclude it from competing in postseason competition during the remaining seasons of the student-athlete's eligibility". The NCAA says six football staff members and 12 boosters contributed to the current violations.
The investigation spanned violations committed under both Freeze and former Ole Miss head coach Houston Nutt, and spawned a dispute between Nutt and Ole Miss that inadvertently resulted in Freeze's downfall. Luke had the interim tag removed on Sunday when he was officially named head coach.