A years-long investigation into the University of Mississippi's football program has come to an end.
On Friday, the NCAA announced the penalties for Ole Miss in the case involving improper recruiting and other violations.
Ole Miss received the ruling Friday morning and has been hit with an additional year postseason ban, loss of scholarships and financial penalties totaling $179,797.
Also, coaches mentioned in the Notice of Allegations has received a show cause.
"For five years, the university failed to exercise control of its football program," said Greg Christopher, chief hearing officer and athletics director at Xavier, during the NCAA COI teleconference. "This case strikes at the heart of what college sports stand for."
Former Rebels coach Hugh Freeze, who resigned after what Ross Bjork called "a concerning pattern" of misconduct was found when going over Freeze's phone records, received a one-year head coach restriction and a two-game suspension from the NCAA for failure to monitor his staff.
To clarify earlier report on Hugh Freeze: Not a show cause, it's a one-year head coach restriction. He faces a two-game suspension if he's a head coach next season, but not if he's a coordinator or assistant coach— Mark Schlabach (@Mark_Schlabach) December 1, 2017
In the teleconference, Christopher said Freeze promoted atmosphere of compliance, but failed to monitor, which led to his restrictions and penalties.
The two game suspension is only for head coaching positions. If he takes a coordinator or assistant’s job, there would be no restrictions.
The show-cause penalty would require any school wanting to hire Freeze and any other coach to appear before the infractions committee.
University of Mississippi Chancellor Jeffery Vitter released a statement saying the school would appeal the additional postseason ban.
While we continue to review the full report, we will vigorously appeal the 2018 postseason ban. The additional postseason ban is excessive and does not take into account the corrective actions that we have made in personnel, structure, policies and processes to address the issues.
Vitter further explained that the school will appeal the postseason ban and the lack of institutional control, along with other aspects of the penalties that are to be determined.
Bjork said the appeals process typically takes 3-6 months and Ole Miss has 15 days to file an appeal following the NCAA ruling.
"Let me be clear. Today is a sad day for the Ole Miss family," said Vitter in Friday's press conference. ""My heart breaks for the young men in our program."
"This is a gross misapplication of the charge of lack of institutional control," added Bjork.
Vitter says something changed in the investigation shortly before draft night in 2016 and he said that the NCAA blocked Ole Miss from performing their own investigation with their sources of information
You can watch the full press conference here.
The Rebels, who were accused of 15 Level I violations, ranging from former staffers allegedly fixing ACT scores to get recruits qualified for the football team to recruits allegedly hunting on boosters’ private land, including lack of institutional control, appeared in front of the NCAA Committee on Infractions in Covington, Kentucky, on September 11-12.
The university received its Notice of Allegations, which detailed these charges, from the NCAA’s Enforcement Staff on February 22.
Ole Miss announced a self-imposed postseason ban and scholarship restrictions that same day.
With the self-imposed postseason ban, the university forfeited nearly $8 million in postseason revenue.
The additional two-year bowl ban includes the 2017 season and the Rebels will be eligible for a bowl following the 2019 season
An NCAA spokesperson confirmed to ESPN that Ole Miss seniors will be allowed to transfer without penalty because of the postseason ban for 2018.
NCAA spokeswoman Stacey Osborne confirmed to ESPN that Ole Miss seniors will be allowed to transfer without penalty because of the postseason ban for 2018. According to NCAA rules, "It is not necessary for an institution to obtain permission in writing... https://t.co/qNkjnxLCXd— Mark Schlabach (@Mark_Schlabach) December 1, 2017
According to NCAA rules, "It is not necessary for an institution to obtain permission in writing to recruit a student-athlete at an institution that has been placed on probation with sanctions that preclude it from competing in postseason competition during the remaining seasons of the student-athlete's eligibility. However, the student-athlete's institution must be notified of the recruitment and may establish reasonable restrictions related to the contact (e.g., no visits during class time), provided such restrictions do not preclude the opportunity for the student-athlete to discuss transfer possibilities with the other institution."
The Rebels also were told by the NCAA to disassociate themselves from each of the boosters named in the notice of allegations, who were accused of providing recruits and players with improper benefits.
What exactly did the Committee on Infractions find?
Penalties and corrective actions imposed by the panel include:
For links to all public documents, click here.
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