Tunsil comments and the NCAA Student Assistance Fund

What came to light last night was that Laremy Tunsil asked for money to help pay rent.

The response, presumably from John Miller in football operations, does not say that the money was given to Tunsil. It implies that Miller was willing to help and brings another football staffer into the equation. Tunsil said last night that money changed hands. I think he’s a qualified source, so let’s assume for the sake of this discussion that he’s correct.

Now when all this is playing out in real time late at night with deadlines in play all questions don’t get answered.

Stories like this tend to be days in playing out.

We reported last night that Laremy Tunsil said he accepted money.

That’s all we could report from an involved party, because Ole Miss was not getting into the conversation. The school released a statement late last night to say it was aware of Tunsil’s comments, would investigate and would cooperate with the SEC and NCAA.

I previously had a short conversation with Ross Bjork in the spring of 2015 when Fadol Brown needed help with travel money getting home after his family friend was shot in Charleston, S.C.

The NCAA not only allows schools to provide money to athletes during emergencies it provides some money for that in a lump sum to conferences. The situation described in Tunsil’s social media conversation would presumably fall within the guidelines of this fund.

The NCAA manual says “The Student Assistance Fund is intended to provide direct benefits to student-athletes or their families as determined by conference offices. As a guiding principal the fund shall be used to assist student-athletes in meeting financial needs that arise in conjunction with participation in intercollegiate athletics.”

The NCAA cites a few clear items for which money from this fund cannot be used, but it provides a great deal of leeway for schools to make decisions on how to use the money to help athletes. It appears that rent or utilities would fall within the guidelines.

What’s still unclear at this point is how this will be interpreted or handled by the NCAA. Its investigation at Ole Miss is complete. It’s findings and charges have been made known to Ole Miss. Ole Miss is preparing a response that is expected to be filed in less than a month.

Could the NCAA reopen its current investigation? It could always start a new one. If it can investigate alleged violations that occurred six years ago with a former assistant coach it can investigate something that happened during Laremy Tunsil’s time at Ole Miss.

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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  • Quay Parks

    It’d have been been much better for all concerned before coming out with the headlines today that Tunsil accepted money from coaches without ANY explanation! Bad journalism! It’s all about the story regardless😡😡😡

  • ostrogoth

    Great reporting Parrish. Important facts about assistance fund. This will all wash out.

  • Will

    Willie Anthony Nickson Sooooooo let me get this straight…..the logic is that the fund which is run by an independent group not coaches (for obvious reasons) was being discussed in the text messages? So why was the coach complaining about the amount since “the fund” would be distributing the funds? Money CAN be distributed for player’s emergencies not “momma’s utility” bills. If so, why not momma’s car note or momma’s Macy’s credit card? Ok, I’ll bite but before I accept this excuse I have a few question. 1.) Why did Tunsil initially dodge the question when asked about getting money “from coaches”? Easy answer was “I got money from the NCAA fund.” 2.) Why did Umiss not simply release the application to the fund from Tunsil dated the time of the text messages? 3.) Why is one coach sending him to the asst. AD? The process for getting money from the fund is to submit an application to the fund committee. 4.) Why did Umiss issue a statement saying they are looking into this? Simple response is “we were directing this request to the fund and here are the documents.” 5.) Why in response to the question did you get money from “coaches” he said “I would have to say yeah”? The question was “coaches” not “the fund”. Remembeer coaches don’t disperse money for the fund so what reason would he get money from “coaches”? 6.) Are we to believe that the guy who was suspended 7 games for getting impermissible benefits was suddenly following the rules? 7.) Why didn’t Tunsil release a statement yesterday clarifying that he meant “the fund” instead of coaches and release supporting document? 8.) Why is it that every commentator and reporter who is non-biased consider this a horrific admission, but Umiss reporters are trying to spin this as a kid getting money from the fund to help in a hardship? 9.) Last question, do the people pushing this “the fund” spin is so stupid that they believe it, they think the mass public is so stupid that they will buy this, or is this just simply talking points for the Umiss sheep who denied the NCAA investigation for years? I’ll hang up and listen.

  • Lee McAdams

    The NCAA doesn’t have to start a new investigation. They will just pile on all the new stuff and up the penalties. This has been going on for several years since Freeze took over and the NCAA has been all over it without the Rebels ever knowing the better. Saban and Richt started it when they got surprisingly beat out for Kmendiche and Tunsil. I have heard Urban Myer also questioned how Treadwell got out from under their noses to go to a small SEC school. So, there were some phone calls to the SEC regarding some big time recruits making strange decisions. Next, will be Shea Patterson and his brother getting an overpaid assignment at Ole Miss. Then, I’m sure Charlie Strong at Texas and TAMU’s coach will be phoning in inquiries on irregularities with Greg Little. And it keeps on keeping on!

    • Killer_Beeze

      Put the crack pipe down and call 911. 🙂

  • Killer_Beeze

    Thanks for explaining Tunsil’s situation.
    As far as I’m concerned…it is no big deal unless the NCAA says it is.
    You Ole Miss haters are living a pipe dream.
    Great news! WR Cody Core just drafted by the Browns.
    Hotty Toddy!!!

  • JB

    : The swirling controversy surrounding Ole Miss offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil, the Miami Dolphins’ first-round draft pick, is essentially why the Florida Gators never considered hiring Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze.

    Remember when the Gators fired Will Muschamp and
    everybody just assumed Freeze — the charismatic, offensive-minded head
    coach who turned around Ole Miss’ perennially puny program — would be
    the No. 1 candidate for the UF job. Turns out, Freeze was never even
    considered because of the rumors and rumblings involving an NCAA
    investigation that was announced shortly after the Gators hired Jim McElwain.

    Many
    of the concerns about Freeze focused on Tunsil, who was suspended for
    seven games during his junior season for receiving a bevy of improper
    benefits, including the use of three loaner cars over a six-month period
    and a $3,000 interest-free loan.


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