Saturday, July 29, 2017
OXFORD, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi released Friday the names of 12 boosters that the NCAA claims provided impermissible benefits and recruiting inducements to football players.
The names of the boosters had previously been redacted from the NCAA's notices of allegations and the university's responses. The university re-released the NCAA notices and its responses on Friday with the names of 12 of 14 boosters. The release was in response to a previous ruling by the Mississippi Ethic Commission. The names of two other boosters were still being redacted because of a court order.
Among the boosters named were Rebel Rags, an Oxford-based clothing store, and its president, Terry Warren. The NCAA alleges Rebel Rags and Warren provided $2,800 worth of free merchandise to recruits. Rebel Rags is suing two Mississippi State football players and Lindsey Miller, the father of former Ole Miss star Laremy Tunsil, for defamation in regards to their NCAA testimony.
The NCAA is accusing Ole Miss of 21 total violations, 15 classified as Level I, the most serious. The university responded to the NCAA's second notice in this case in June, disputing several of the newest allegations, including a lacking of institutional control.
Mississippi coach Hugh Freeze was forced to resign last week due to a pattern of inappropriate behavior that was not related to NCAA violations. That revelation was related to phone records that were part of a lawsuit that has been filed against the Ole Miss by Freeze's predecessor, Houston Nutt. Some of the violations alleged in the NCAA's notice were committed during Nutt's tenure in Oxford.
Freeze had been coach for five years and his departure came only about a month after Ole Miss game a string defense of him in its response to the NCAA's alleged violations.
Ole Miss has already self-imposed several penalties, including a postseason ban for the upcoming season, three years of probation, scholarship losses and recruiting restrictions. The NCAA can accept Ole Miss' self-imposed penalties or add to them after a hearing in front of the NCAA's Committee on Infractions that will likely take place in the summer or fall.
Offensive line coach and co-offensive coordinator Matt Luke was named interim coach after Freeze stepped down. Luke completed his staff Friday when longtime college and NFL coach Jack Bicknell Jr. was hired to be offensive line coach.