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Ole Miss hit with NCAA sanctions

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By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher

The NCAA has announced its punishment for the Ole Miss Rebels football team. The governing association announced that the Rebels will miss a Bowl game in 2018.

This will be the second straight year that the Rebels missed a Bowl game, as in June, it was announced that the Rebels would not be eligible for a Bowl game in 2017. Ole Miss finished with a 6-6 record this season under interim head coach Matt Luke.

Former Ole Miss Rebels head coach Hugh Freeze (Getty Images)

Former Ole Miss Rebels head coach Hugh Freeze (Getty Images)

Luke was named the permanent head coach shortly after the season. He’ll have to guide the team through this mess that was left behind from former head coach Hugh Freeze.

In addition to the Bowl ban, the football program also lost scholarships. The University of Mississippi is expected to appeal the decision.

The school was accused of 15 Level 1 violations. The NCAA said the football program “lacked institutional control and fostering.”

“This is now the third case over three decades that has involved boosters and football program,” the panel said. “Even the head coach acknowledged that upon coming to Mississippi, he was surprised by the ‘craziness’ of boosters trying to insert themselves into his program.

“At the hearing, Mississippi’s chancellor acknowledged his institution’s program with boosters, characterizing one instance as ‘disturbingly questionable.'”

Greg Christopher, the athletic director at Xavier and Chief Hearing Officer for the NCAA, said the previous penalties, along with these new infractions, were sufficient. The second bowl ban was given due to “the seriousness of the case and the situation and what was appropriate.”

“The case strikes at the heart of what college sports stands for,” he said.

The NCAA said that six staff members and 12 boosters were involved in the sanctions. They reportedly paid $37,000 to prospects in cash payments, automobiles, lodging, transportation, meals and apparel. Two staffers reportedly helped three prospects arrange fraudulent test scores that they could attend the school.

Much of this happened under Freeze’s watch. He received a two-game conference suspension for failing to monitor his staff. The suspension will only happen should be hired as a head coach; however, will not happen if he’s hired as an assistant coach.

“Off the field, [Freeze] promoted an atmosphere of compliance and expected his staff to abide by the rules,” the ruling said. “However, throughout his tenure, the head coach also violated NCAA head coach responsibility legislation because he failed to monitor his program’s activities surrounding the recruitment of prospects. Members of his staff knowingly committed recruiting violations, submitted false information on recruiting paperwork and failed to report known violations.”

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