The NCAA has finally announced significant violations occurred in the Ole Miss athletic department but with one very significant catch when it comes to the Rebels’ football program.
The Committee on Infractions announced their findings in the long-running case on Friday afternoon and found academic fraud violations involving two former Ole Miss women’s basketball staffers and a pair of ex-players on the team. Two former women’s track coaches at the school were also found to have acted unethically by providing false information to NCAA investigators.
The school’s time in front of the Committee on Infractions is only just beginning however. The association and Ole Miss both agreed earlier this year to split the overarching case involving the athletic department into football and non-revenue sports earlier this year when new allegations surfaced at the NFL Draft involving former lineman Laremy Tunsil. The NCAA did review any information related to the football program and provided no further update into the case beyond a generic statement.
“When both the university and enforcement staff informed the panel that they needed more time to further investigate the potential allegations in the football program after the enforcement staff delivered its notice of allegations, the panel separated this case to be fair to the university, and the involved individuals in the women’s basketball and track programs,” said Greg Christopher, the committee’s chief hearing officer and athletics director at Xavier University. “The panel maintains its commitment to fairness and processing infractions matters efficiently. Our panel’s review was limited to only women’s basketball and track. No football-related materials were part of our record, and we will only take up the football allegations once the investigation has concluded.”
Ole Miss’ football program faced 13 allegations of NCAA violations prior to the Tunsil story blowing up on the night of the draft. The school has already self-imposed the loss of 11 scholarships over four years as a result and has also limited unofficial visits and off-campus evaluation days for Hugh Freeze’s coaching staff.
Eventually the football team will get their day in the NCAA’s version of a court room but Friday provided no clarification as to when that would be exactly.
With eight quarterbacks on the roster, Kody Wilstead opted to leave the Cougars in mid-March. A little over a month later, Wilstead has found a new home, albeit a little further down on the college football ladder.
According to the Deseret News, Wilstead has signed to play at Coffeyville Community College in Kansas. As Coffeyville is a junior college, the quarterback will be eligible to play immediately in 2018.
It’s expected that Wilstead will spend at least one season at the JUCO level before looking at making a move back up to the FBS.
Wilstead, a three-star 2015 signee, took a redshirt as a true freshman last season after serving an LDS mission the previous two years.
After Wilstead’s departure, the seven remaining Cougar signal-callers are, in alphabetical order, Stacy Conner, Joe Critchlow, Hayden Griffitts, Beau Hoge, Tanner Mangum, Baylor Romney and Zach Wilson. Mangum, last year’s starter, is recovering from an Achilles tendon injury he suffered in November of last year but remains on track to return for the start of summer camp in August.
This is something you don’t see all too often.
Donovan Franklin (pictured, No. 26) tweeted out late Tuesday night that, “[a]fter careful consideration I am happy to announce that I have decided to continue my academic and athletic career at the University of Kansas.” Franklin had spent the past two years at the United States Military Academy at West Point, playing his college football for the Army Black Knights.
It’s unclear what led the slotback to leave the service academy and head to the Big 12 school.
Franklin was a two-star prospect coming out of high school in Maryland in Army’s Class of 2015. After playing in two games in 2016, he carried the ball one time for seven yards this past season.
The 5-9, 185-pound Franklin was listed as a defensive back coming out of high school, and could assume such a role yet again with the Jayhawks. That likely won’t happen this season, however, as it’s expected he will have to sit out the 2018 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules.
That whole thing where Oklahoma landed a graduate transfer from Notre Dame? Never mind. Pretend it never happened.
April 15, a little over a week after he announced his transfer from Notre Dame, Jay Hayes took to Twitter to confirm that he had committed to continuing his collegiate playing career at Oklahoma. Ten days later, the defensive lineman has done an about-face, taking to the same social media service to announce that he is flipping from OU to Georgia.
“This is it!” the lineman wrote, presumably meaning there will be no more flipping.
As a graduate transfer, Hayes will be eligible to play immediately for the Bulldogs in 2018. This will be the lineman’s final season of eligibility.
Hayes, a four-star member of the Irish’s 2014 recruiting class, played in 26 games for the Irish over the last three seasons, including starts in all 13 games at defensive end in a 2017 season that saw him record 27 tackles and a sack.
At least in this graduate transfer battle, the SEC has gotten over on the Pac-12.
Tuesday, Jack Driscoll, who decided to transfer from UMass earlier this offseason, confirmed that he had narrowed his potential landing spots down to three — Auburn, UCLA and USC. A day later, the offensive lineman took to Twitter to announce that he will be enrolling at AU and continuing his collegiate playing career with the Tigers.
Driscoll will graduate from UMass early next month, and will be eligible to play immediately in 2018 on The Plains. The upcoming season will be the first of two years of eligibility the 6-5, 294-pound lineman has remaining.
After starting eight games as a redshirt freshman in 2016, with most of those starts coming at left guard, he started all 12 games in 2017. All of those starts this past season came at right tackle for the football-independent Minutemen. He was named to Phil Steele’s All-Independent first team while he earned second-team All-Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) honors for good measure.