By Chris Burrows
OXFORD Ole Miss Athletic Director Pete Boone knows the phone call will come some time this week. But that doesn’t make the waiting any easier.
“The NCAA has confirmed they will let me know something by the weekend,” said Boone, referring to the school’s most recent appeal concerning NCAA penalties. “Obviously, the sooner the better.”
The appeal is based on the case involving violations in the football program to which the school was found guilty in 1994. Former recruiting coordinator Gary Carter was specifically named as offering cash to a recruit.
Ole Miss maintains the NCAA changed that allegation after conflicting evidence was uncovered during the appeals process and the school was not allowed the opportunity to challenge the amended allegation.
There is precedent for appealing, as Alabama was recently awarded penalty relief in a similar case. The NCAA lessened Alabama’s original penalty of losing 26 football scholarships in three years to 17 scholarships in two years.
Currently, Ole Miss is completing the second year of penalties where scholarships were reduced from 25 to 13. The school remains on probation, but it will not affect television appearances this season or bowl appearances after this season.
If successful, Ole Miss could have additional scholarships restored for this recruiting class. If unsuccessful, Boone maintains nothing will have been lost in the appeals process.
“If we’re turned down, it won’t change anything,” Boone said. “Obviously, it would be a boost if we’re successful. I have absolutely no feelings or indication which way this thing will go.
“I’ve talked at length with the NCAA, but you’re left with the feeling of the old Dragnet television show. They just want the facts and they’ll decide.”