NCAA smacks Ole Miss with additional postseason ban, more scholarship cuts

Report Ole Miss football hit with second year of bowl ban scholarship reductions

Report Ole Miss football hit with second year of bowl ban scholarship reductions

Former head coach Hugh Freeze received a two conference-game suspension if he's serving as a head coach next season.

Most debilitating in that regard is an additional bowl-ban season and the loss of 13 scholarships over the next three years.

The additional bowl ban means that players now with the program have the ability to transfer to other FBS institutions without sitting out a year as generally mandated by the NCAA.

The NCAA laid down harsh penalties against the University of MS on Friday, including scholarship reductions and a postseason ban, as part of the investigation into a series of recruiting violations committed by the football program.

In addition to Freeze, former Ole Miss assistant Chris Kiffin, now defensive coordinator at Florida Atlanta, received a two-year show-cause order. As part of self-imposed sanctions, the university already cut 11 scholarships over a four-year period from 2015 to 2018. A dozen boosters and six former staffers were implicated by the NCAA in arranging impermissible benefits, including cash payments, free vehicle rides to campus, free hotel rooms, food, and Rebels apparel from an Oxford-area sports merchandise store.

The NCAA panel noted that this was the third case in 30 years involving Ole Miss boosters breaking rules, and said that even Freeze told them, "upon coming to MS, he was surprised by the "craziness" of boosters trying to insert themselves into his program". Two staffers also arranged for fraudulent standardized test scores for three recruits. Ole Miss must also vacate wins that ineligible athletes participated in, which could take some time to sort out. The show-cause is directly related to the NCAA investigation into recruiting violations. That won't be easy considering the additional postseason ban for the 2018 season. Matt Luke was named the permanent head coach on Sunday after serving on an interim basis throughout the 2017 season.

Ole Miss reached the.500 mark after beating Mississippi State 31-28 on Thanksgiving. The resignation came after the university found records of phone calls from Freeze to an escort service on his school-issued cell phone.

Bjork said the university would begin the appeals process for the postseason ban as quickly as possible.

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