The bad news for Ole Miss is that the NCAA has the Rebels football program in its sights. The good? It’s the emasculated NCAA, a shell of its formerly punitive self.
According to Pat Forde of Yahoo Sports, the Rebels football program is one the school’s athletic programs under investigation for potential NCAA violations. However, Forde writes, “the current football staff of head coach Hugh Freeze is not believed to be implicated in any major violations, and that much of the football inquiry dates back to actions by a previous Ole Miss staff.”
The football investigation has been ongoing for more than a year, although “all NCAA interviews have [been] completed and the school is waiting for the NCAA Department of Enforcement’s next step.” One of the next steps could be an appearance in front of the NCAA Committee on Infractions, which is next set to convene two weeks from today. Ole Miss athletic director Ross Bjork confirmed to Forde that the athletic department has yet to receive a Notice of Allegations from the NCAA, which would precede a COI hearing.
Exactly what the violations are that could net the Rebels some level of punitive measures from the NCAA are unknown.
Yahoo Sports filed a Freedom of Information request with Mississippi on Sept. 2 requesting all correspondence between the school and the NCAA Department of Enforcement between Sept. 1, 2013, and Sept. 1, 2014. The request was returned Sept. 26 showing 19 secondary or Level III violations in that time period, with names and affected sports redacted.
Again, it’s thought that Freeze, who is in his third year with the Rebels, is not involved in any major NCAA violations. Whether any of the potential violations connected to the previous regime or regimes are major in nature remains to be seen.
Freeze was hired in December of 2011, replacing Houston Nutt. After four years as the Rebels head coach, Nutt resigned in November of that year. Nutt had replaced Ed Orgeron, who was fired in November of 2011.
Forde also allowed that the bulk of the potential violations currently being investigated by the NCAA involves the women’s basketball program.