Back in December, Ole Miss said it would appeal the additional year added to its bowl ban by the NCAA. The appeal was formally submitted to the NCAA appeal last week and the university made its case public on Wednesday.
In the 46-page document, which is embedded below, Ole Miss, after conceding that “serious violations took place,” laid out its arguments against the NCAA’s decision to add on to the self-imposed 2017 bowl ban. The school is also disputing other NCAA punishments, including the Lack of Institutional Control charge, limiting the number of unofficial recruiting visits from recruits and the violations related to Rebel Rags, a local retail store alleged to have provided free Ole Miss merchandise to recruits.
With respect to the penalties it is appealing, the school said the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions (COI) “should vacate and reverse the penalties and factual findings because the COI abused its discretion, departed from precedent, committed procedural errors, and reached factual conclusions inconsistent with the evidence.”
Specifically, Ole Miss took issue with the NCAA citing infractions from 1986 and 1994 and applying it to this case, including as part of the basis for adding a year to the bowl ban, saying the NCAA’s assessment of Ole Miss’ history of compliance in football was “erroneous.” Also, Ole Miss said the COI’s imposed recruiting restrictions for unofficial visits were “unprecedented and unauthorized.”
“The University appeals the COI’s unprecedented and unauthorized penalty of a three-year recruiting restriction on “unofficial” visits, requiring the University to limit all prospective student-athletes in the sport of football to one unofficial campus visit per academic year. No such penalty has ever been imposed by the COI, and for good reason: this restriction is six times the period called for under the NCAA penalty matrix,” Ole Miss said.
With the dreaded Lack of Institutional Control charge, Ole Miss says its case does not meet “the type of institution-wide failure required by precedent.” And the school says the violations stemming from Rebel Rags, which the NCAA says provided $2,800 worth of free merchandise to recruits (including current Mississippi State players Leo Lewis and Kobe Jones) as arranged by two former Ole Miss staff members, are “contrary to overwhelming evidence.”
Following the submission of the written appeal, the Committee on Infractions then has 30 days for a response of its own. From there, Ole Miss is given 14 days to provide a rebuttal.
As part of the sanctions levied, the NCAA allowed Ole Miss players who will be seniors in 2018 to transfer with immediate eligibility. Several players who won’t be seniors also transferred, including quarterback Shea Patterson to Michigan, and are seeking a waiver to play in 2018. Patterson and others are alleging they were misled about the nature of the impending sanctions by then-Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze.
You can read an entire list of the NCAA penalties given to Ole Miss here.
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