Ole Miss and NCAA: What the school has said in two public statements

There’s a social media narrative going on right now that says Ole Miss has lied regarding the number of alleged NCAA violations involving the current football staff.

Some have said that Ole Miss said that Hugh Freeze and his staff were not named in the violations.

Well, that’s wrong. That’s not what the school has said.

Clearly the school went immediately into spin mode and remains there now as it works on its response to the NCAA. The school has 90 days to respond which should put it around late April on the calendar.

I’m told Ole Miss will take almost all 90 days, if not all, to submit its response.

In the meantime the school is about self-preservation, getting ready its best possible response. All schools react similarly in this type of review.

The departure of Branden Wenzel, an on-campus recruiting assistant, was not related to the NCAA, the school said.

Interpret that however you wish. The timing does come within the same window as the school is preparing its next move.

Regarding football allegations by the NCAA, the school has issued two statements through athletics director Ross Bjork.

The key words that follow are “many” and “most.” The statements avoid the specifics you are trying to avoid when you are working to control the message.

Since the statements were released The Associated Press last week reported some key numbers that had not yet reached the public domain. The AP said there were 28 allegations total across the three sports, that 13 allegations dealt with football and that nine dealt with the current staff.

The AP also said the violations were a mix of levels I, II and III.

The school has not publicly confirmed The AP’s numbers.

You can debate whether or not the school was misleading, but it never said that no violations were attached to the current coaching staff.

The first statement was released in a group text with selected media on Friday, Jan. 29, the day the Yahoo story was published.

It read: “As has been the case for the past three years we are bound by confidentiality and cannot comment publicly on the matter. However, I can say that I’m confident in how our coaches and staff operate our program, and we take compliance, NCAA and SEC rules very seriously. We are working hard to seek a resolution to this matter.”

The second statement was released via email the next day, a Saturday afternoon.

It read: “Outside counsel for the University of Mississippi received a Notice of Allegations from the NCAA – another step in a more than three-year process. Included in the notice are alleged violations of NCAA bylaws in women’s basketball in 2012; track and field in 2012-13; and in football, with many of the allegations dating back to the former football staff in 2010 and the withholding and reinstatement process around Laremy Tunsil in fall of 2015.

 

“To be clear, the NCAA has only brought allegations, and as part of the NCAA process, the University and others have 90 days to issue a response. We’ve been transparent throughout this process, and it is important to note that most of the football allegations are based upon facts that have been publicly disclosed previously in “self-reports” and reinstatement requests or have been reported publicly in connection with another NCAA case.

 

“Out of fairness to the individuals involved and the integrity of the NCAA process, we will not provide further details or comment until everyone has had an opportunity to review the allegations and respond. Once they do so, we will release the official notice and the university’s response. In all three sports, I am confident in the leadership of our current head coaches and the manner in which they operate their programs.”

 

Let’s assume the AP numbers are correct, and you’re dealing with nine violations that involve the Hugh Freeze staff.

The statement says “many” of the allegations date back to the 2010 staff “AND” are related to the Laremy Tunsil suspension and reinstatement.

Ole Miss listed Tunsil’s violations in October. There are five violations there. If you take the entire sentence at face value then five Tunsil violations and four by the previous staff gets you to nine violations. That’s “many” when you’re talking about 13 total football violations.

The statement never says Freeze and his staff are completely innocent of wrong-doing. It says the opposite. It notes the Tunsil matter.

The statement also seeks to minimize the football allegations when it says that “most” have already been self-reported OR deal with reinstatement requests (Tunsil) OR have been reported publicly in connection with another NCAA case (Louisiana-Lafayette).

If you consider the violations that fall under that definition you can almost get to nine that are said to involve the Freeze staff rather quickly. Five alone involve Tunsil. There was the matter involving sophomore defensive back C.J. Hampton at the beginning of the season. There were two more self-reports tacked on to the end of the AP story. That brings the total to eight.

Maybe there’s one more violation out there, a smoking gun that unravels the progress Ole Miss football has made in the last two years.

If it’s there, it’s not apparent right now, and three years of NCAA digging in Oxford have managed to remain quiet among the town’s good citizens. There’s no chatter of such.

How this all plays out remains to be seen, but the facts as we know them, or think we know them, do not leave the current coaching staff unscathed nor has it been stated as such in two public statements by the school’s athletics voice and policy maker.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Denham Springs, La., native, Mississippian since 1989 with a stop in Meridian before arriving in Tupelo. Daily Journal beat writer since 1996, covering Ole Miss since 2002. Proud Northeast Louisiana alum. Follow me on Twitter @parrishalford and listen to John Davis and myself daily with The Ole Miss Beat on Rebel Sports Radio.

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  • Killer_Beeze

    The NCAA can go to ANY college football program–right now–and find rules violations. The fact that the NCAA has been ‘sniffing’ around Ole Miss for so long leads me to be believe something else is going on. That’s just my gut feeling.

    Of course, it doesn’t help matters when you have a former LSU chancellor Mark Emmert at the helm of the NCAA. This guy has SO MUCH baggage how he got appointed Director of the NCAA should be investigated.

    USAToday did a story entitled:
    “Digging Into the Past of NCAA Director Mark Emmert”. It is a scathing write up on this man.

    INDIANAPOLIS – Six years after Mark Emmert left his job at the University of Connecticut,
    the governor of Connecticut ordered an investigation into a massive
    construction project on campus that had been ravaged by scandal,
    including more than $100 million lost because of mismanagement.

    To
    find out where things went wrong, the investigators looked at old
    papers of Emmert, who once supervised the project as UConn’s chancellor.
    They soon found a bombshell.

    DOCUMENTS: Take a look into Emmert’s past

    Memos from 1998-99
    showed that Emmert and two other top UConn officials knew about the
    construction project’s big problems then, but failed to disclose them to
    the school’s board of trustees or the state legislature.The
    other two officials ultimately resigned after being placed on leave. The
    third — Emmert — went on to become president of the NCAA

    There’s MORE…and it’s gets more scathing:
    http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/ncaab/2013/04/02/ncaa-president-emmert-previous-cases-uconn-lsu/2047607/

    • JB

      i think Ole Miss was a bit too generous in their gifts and bank account in landing Tunsil. Ole Miss has been watched and in trouble before by NCAA so this is nothing new. i guess Coach Freeze was afraid FSU would get Tunsil – he only live a few miles East of Tallahassee

      • Killer_Beeze

        Yep, and I was abducted by little grey men last night.
        All conjecture on YOUR part JB.
        I’m ashamed of you.
        Riddle me this: “when was the last time Ole Miss received any penalties from the NCAA?”
        I haven’t done the research but I really don’t remember anything ‘serious’ in the last 15 or 20 years.

        • JB

          i think during the Brewer coaching days, then come Tommie Tuberville to the rescue. K_B I don’t wish or intend to offend you are the Ole Miss fans, I was once a die hard Rebel fan but it all changed. still a Rebel baseball fan – never was much of a Rebel basketball fan, did like Cob Jarvis and his playing days, but never anything to brag about also All American Denver Bracken days at Ole Miss. When at Northwest Mississippi we played against Denver when he was at East Central Mississippi – Denver had one of the most efficient long range hook shots that i ever seen. have a good day and pay me no attention – i am just a crazy ole man

          • Killer_Beeze

            Well, Billy” Dog” Brewer was 30 years ago…late 1980s. I don’t recall any specific violations, but something did happen during his tenure.
            Rebel baseball starts this Friday. I to am looking forward to the new season.
            Florida is numero uno. That should be exciting for you JB.

          • JB

            K_B forget NCAA violations, probably nothing will ever come of it. Today Ole miss baseball team start on their road to Omaha:

            Friday, Feb 19

            Baseball

            vs Florida International

            Oxford, Miss.
            4:00 PM
            From Oxford to Omaha. and yes Gators rated as No.1 now but things will change with them down the road, they do have a very strong pitching staff and power hitters in the line up, but they must get the hitting and pitching on the same page to win, I feel Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco can do that with his Rebel bunch, that’ why I say today it to Omaha

  • JB

    i see on the SEC and Gator web sites where the Gators are picked to win the SEC this season, with Vandy runner up, but LSU cannot be ruled out of the picture. Gators loaded with a very good and strong pitching staff and a batting line also very powerful with any one in the batting lineup capable of sending “Dolly Gray” down town . batting not as strong as a few season back, but they will account for themselves.. not only Gators but some other Florida teams will be strong this season, FSU not as loaded as Gators. Noles will be a clear and present danger to any team, Hurricanes good but just don’t know how good – some of the smaller Florida schools will surprise the big boys in college baseball. I think ole miss will be a better team than presently rated and could be a surprise team within the SEC this season..

  • JB

    Todays game about to start. we shall see what the Rebels have to offer in their starting assignment at.4 p.m. Today Ole Miss RHP Brady Bramlett, R-Jr., 7-3, 3.74 vs. FIU RHP
    So. Andres Nunez 6-6, 3.99 1:30 p.m. Saturday Ole Miss RHP Chad Smith,
    Jr., 3-1, 3.09 at Wallace State CC last year, Brady Bramlett last season gave up 10 HR”s, Andres Nunes is not on the present roster who is he???? Chad Smith a CC transfer so he is a??? mark for major college play. Rebel line up: Guess we will see Robinsob at SS, Bortles at 3rb, Grisham at 1st base, JB woodward in left field, catcher a training position considering the last seasons where All Americans held that job – we shall see just what the 2016 Rebels have to offer – I believe it will be a very good one knowing the outstanding Coach Bianco – Coach Bianco always put a winner on the field and i fell it will be no different today – Go Rebels – don’t take this Florida team lightly they could be full of surprises


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