Here’s our take on the NCAA story. If in fact there are nine football violations under Hugh Freeze more than half can be traced to the Tunsil case that has been dealt with. The school is working to spin this as minor football violations. My sources support that. AP mentions one more more Level I violations but doesn’t say under which administration a major violation occurred.
By Parrish Alford
OXFORD – While Ole Miss prepares its response to an NCAA letter of allegations received late last month some new numbers are being reported.
The Associated Press, citing a person with knowledge of the NCAA investigation, says there are 28 violations total, 13 in football.
Women’s basketball and track and field are also part of the investigation which began in 2012.
The AP reports that nine football violations occurred during the tenure of current Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze.
In a prepared statement after the NCAA’s letter of allegations was received Ole Miss athletics director Ross Bjork said that “many” of the football violations dated to the former staff in 2010.
He went on to say that other football violations included the withholding and ultimate reinstatement of offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil this past season.
The AP reports that the football violations are a mix of Level I – considered the most serious – and levels II and III.
The report does not specify under which coach a Level I violation or violations are believed to have occurred.
Daily Journal sources believe that alleged violations under Freeze are minor.
It appears that at least five violations under Freeze’s watch occurred during the Tunsil matter alone.
The NCAA charged Tunsil with use of three separate loaner vehicles over a sixth-month period, a four-month interest-free promissory note on a down payment to purchase a used vehicle, two nights of lodging at a local home, an airline ticket purchased by a friend of a teammate and one day use of a rental vehicle.
Tunsil was suspended for seven games and played the final five of the regular season plus the Sugar Bowl.
Bjork said most – not all – of the allegations are based upon violations that have already been self-reported by Ole Miss are publicly reported in connection with another NCAA case.
Documents from the Louisiana-Lafayette case stated that Ole Miss legal counsel and NCAA enforcement staff interviewed former Ole Miss assistant coach David Saunders in 2013.
Saunders was given an eight-year show-cause in the Louisiana-Lafayette case after the NCAA ruled he made an effort to arrange fraudulent college entrance exam scores for recruits.
Louisiana-Lafayette did not receive a postseason ban in its case, but was put on probation for two years and lost 11 scholarships over three seasons.
Among self-reported violations released by Ole Miss over the past year are that a “representative of athletics interests” provided transportation for potential recruits on six different occasions from 2011 to ’14.
There was also a self-report where an assistant coach — whose name was redacted from documents — made improper contact with a recruit at a high school.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.