Ole Miss to appeal sanctions levied by NCAA

OXFORD, MS (WMC) - Ole Miss announced it would appeal the sanctions levied against its football team by the NCAA Friday morning.

NCAA gave the Rebels a bowl ban for 2018 (the school self-imposed a ban for 2017), vacated all wins that any ineligible student-athlete participated in, and placed the school on probation for three years.

"Today is a sad day for the entire Ole Miss family," Chancellor Jeffery Vitter said.

According to ESPN, the Rebels also received a 13-scholarship reduction, financial penalties, and various coaches and administrators received show-causes for different amounts of time. A show-cause on an NCAA coach means the coach does not escape the penalties by leaving the school where the penalties took place.

Former head coach Hugh Freeze did not receive a show cause. Instead he was given a 2-game conference suspension for the 2018 season if he's hired before November 30, 2018.

"I think it's being a little harsh, we already imposed a one year bowl ban and lost the scholarships, so it really hurts the program and the school," Ole Miss junior Kevin Ryan said.

"We are deeply disappointed and angered by the additional penalty of the 2018 post season ban, it is simply not warranted," Athletic Director Ross Bjork.

Below is a full list of the penalties levied against Ole Miss (provided by ESPN):

  • Three years of probation, until Nov. 30, 2020.
  • A penalty of $5,000 plus 1 percent of average football budget for three years, which was calculated at $179,797 (self-imposed by university).
  • Postseason ban for 2017 (self-imposed) and 2018 seasons.
  • Hugh Freeze must serve a 2-game conference suspension for 2018 season should any school hire him between Dec. 1, 2017, and Nov. 30, 2018.
  • An 8-year show-cause order for the operations coordinator. No athletically related duties or contact with prospective student-athletes and their families.
  • A 5-year show-cause order for the assistant coach who facilitated standardized test fraud and living arrangements. No athletically related duties during this time.
  • A 2-year show-cause order for other involved assistant coach. No off-campus recruiting activities or hosting any meals for prospects or student-athletes.
  • A 5-year show-cause order for assistant athletics director. No recruiting activities during this time.
  • Must vacate all regular-season and postseason wins in which ineligible student-athletes competed.
  • Scholarship reductions through 2018-19 (self-imposed).
  • Recruiting restrictions.
  • Disassociation of boosters (self-imposed).

Ole Miss seniors will be allowed to transfer to another school without facing any penalties.

NCAA emphasized that the punishments were instated in part because the school failed to control the athletic department. The organization noted it was the third time in three decades that the athletic department and boosters were accused of breaking the rules.

Ole Miss said it would appeal the NCAA's ruling, specifically citing the 2018 bowl ban as an excessive penalty.

"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 school said in a statement.

The Rebels faced a total of 15 Level 1 violations, including lack of institutional control, for violations that happened while Hugh Freeze was the head coach of the football team

Freeze resigned before this year's football season kicked off. His interim replacement, Matt Luke, has since been hired as the team's head coach.

Copyright 2017 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.