Friday, December 1, 2017
Mississippi's football program has been handed a two-year postseason ban and other penalties by the NCAA.
The Committee on Infractions came down hard on Ole Miss, which finished the regular season 6-6 but had self-imposed a postseason ban this year. The Rebels had hoped to avoid a postseason ban next season as a fallout of its long-running rules violation case that included a charge of lack of institutional control.
Ole Miss had also self-imposed other punishments in anticipation of the sanctions, including scholarship reductions and recruiting restrictions. The NCAA on Friday banned the Rebels from the postseason for 2017 and 2018.
Former Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze will be suspended for two conference games during the 2018 season if he's employed as a head coach at another school. Several former Ole Miss assistants and staff members received show-cause restrictions, which essentially bans them from working for an NCAA school.
The Rebels will also be on probation for three more years through November 30, 2020 and must pay a financial penalty of about $179,000. Ole Miss must also vacate wins that ineligible athletes participated in, which could take some time to sort out.
The complicated case consisted of 21 alleged violations, including 15 that were Level I, which the NCAA considers the most serious. The NCAA will discuss the case on a conference call later Friday.
Ole Miss has also announced a news conference to discuss the case on Friday afternoon.
Now that Ole Miss knows its punishment, it can focus on rebuilding the program. That won't be easy considering the additional postseason ban for the 2018 season.
Matt Luke was recently named Ole Miss' head coach after spending the past season as the interim. The 41-year-old led the Rebels to a respectable season, including an Egg Bowl win over rival Mississippi State last week.
Luke was named the interim coach in July after Freeze surprisingly resigned following a school investigation into his phone records that found what the school called personal misconduct. The school said the resignation was not in relation to the NCAA case.
That put Ole Miss in the awkward position of defending a coach in an NCAA case who was no longer employed at the school.