Ole Miss’ battle with NCAA enforcement took the next step on Tuesday as the school released its response to the organization’s most recent, amended version of a Notice of Allegations.
The university received said Notice of Allegations back in February that included eight new alleged violations from the football program and an overall lack of institutional control charge at Ole Miss. Perhaps most notable of the allegations was that Rebels head coach Hugh Freeze violated his responsibilities with regards to the program’s compliance with NCAA legislation.
Ole Miss is not exactly pleading mea culpa and going along with all of the allegations however. In their response, the school denies several of the charges and the associated facts that NCAA enforcement is using to back them up. The university is also vehemently defending Freeze, who they concluded “has met it and membership’s expectations to emphasize and promote compliance and to implement strong and comprehensive monitoring.”
Not content to go on the defensive, Ole Miss is also using the response to attack rival Mississippi State as well. Notably the school’s lawyers went after the testimony of “Student Athlete 39” and accused him of lying to NCAA enforcement staff in order to damage the Rebels and protect himself from violations he committed. The response even includes a Tweet that it says plays to the fact, which many instantly recognized as one belonging to Bulldogs linebacker Leo Lewis.
Tangential to those issues with Lewis, are allegations the school agreed to surrounding former staffer Barney Farrar. The school concluded that he committed significant violations during his recruitment of Lewis and later lied about the violations to Freeze, the school and enforcement staff. Farrar, who was formally the Ole Miss assistant athletic director for high school and junior college relations, was put on administrative leave last year and did not have his contract renewed in early December.
The Rebels self-imposed a one-year postseason ban back in February that would apply to the 2017 season and agreed to forfeit all annual postseason revenue (expected to be in the $7 million range) as well. With the university formally releasing its response to the Notice of Allegations, the next step in the case will be a meeting with the NCAA Committee on Infractions several weeks down the road.