On Wednesday afternoon, Ole Miss announced a self-imposed postseason ban for 2017, amid new allegations brought forward by the NCAA. In January 2016, the NCAA notified Ole Miss of 13 compliance allegations against its football program. That total is now up to 21, with one of the previous 13 becoming more serious.
Below is a summary of the new allegations. Given the timeframe laid out by the NCAA, as it’s described by Ole Miss, all of them are charges against staffers under current head coach Hugh Freeze, who took his job in December 2011.
Everything we know about the new allegations, at this point, comes from Ole Miss’ own description of the NCAA’s charges. The NCAA has not officially commented or released new documentation about the case.
These are allegations whose evidence Ole Miss isn’t contesting:
1. Hunting on a booster’s land: According to the school, the NCAA alleged that a recruit went hunting on private land near Ole Miss’ campus that was owned by a booster during his official visit in 2013. The student-athlete also went on “two or three” occasions after he enrolled, and the access to the privately owned land was arranged by the football program. This is alleged a Level III violation. A Level I is the most serious classification
2. Ole Miss paid for the lodging and transportation of recruits: This allegation deals with a former Ole Miss staff member who impermissibly convinced prospective student-athletes to come on recruiting visits by paying for lodging and transportation, the NCAA says. This is classified as a Level I violation, if it sticks. Via Ole Miss:
Between March 2014 and January 2015, a former staff member (Former Staff Member A) impermissibly arranged for recruiting inducements in the form of lodging and transportation for one prospective student-athlete (Prospective Student-Athlete B) (who enrolled at another institution) and his companions on several visits to campus and for the impermissible transportation of another prospective student-athlete (Prospective Student-Athlete C) on one occasion. The total value of the lodging and/or transportation between the two prospective student-athletes is alleged to be $2,272. It is also alleged that the football program provided approximately $235 in free meals to Prospective Student-Athlete B (who enrolled at another institution) and Prospective Student-Athlete C and the friends of Prospective Student-Athlete B during recruiting visits in this same timeframe.
3. Former staff member knowingly committed recruiting violations: Between March 2014 and February 2015, a former staff member committed these violations and provided “false or misleading information to the institution and enforcement staff in 2016,” the NCAA believes. This is also classified as a Level I violation.
Ole Miss is contesting this one, partially:
4. Boosters having contact with a recruits, as well as giving cash payments: In the fourth allegation, between April 2014 and February 2015, a former staff member, the same from the allegation listed above, initiated and facilitated contact between two boosters and a recruit. It is also alleged that the boosters provided the recruit with cash payments during this timeframe, between $13,000 and $15,600. This is also a Level I allegation.
Ole Miss adds that it is evaluating the evidence to support the cash payments, and the school will make a determination over the course of the next 90 days.
Ole Miss is contesting the rest of these allegations in full:
5. Impermissible merchandise: A former staff member allegedly arranged for the family friend of a recruit to receive merchandise from a store that’s owned by a booster in 2013, during one occasion. Another former staff member also arranged for two other recruits to get merchandise in 2014, 2015 and 2016, the NCAA says. The value of the alleged “impermissible recruiting inducements” is close to $2,800. This is Level I, as well.
6. Current Ole Miss coach had illegal contact with recruit: In 2014 a current Ole Miss coach allegedly had “impermissible, in-person, off-campus contact” with a recruit, the NCAA says, which is classified as a Level III violation.
7. Booster provided a recruit with money and food: On “two-to-three” dates that are unspecified between March 2014 and January 2015, a booster gave a recruit money, food, and drinks, along with the recruit’s “companions,” the NCAA says. This allegedly occurred at the booster’s own restaurant. The monetary value of the food and drink was between $200 and $600. This is also a Level I allegation.
8. Hugh Freeze violated “responsibility legislation”: Per the school, this isn’t based on the Rebels’ head coach being personally involved in violations, but he is seen as responsible for things his staff members are alleged to have done. Ole Miss says:
Although we disagree, according to the NCAA, Coach Freeze has not rebutted the presumption that he is responsible for his staff’s actions. This is charged as a Level I violation.
9. Ole Miss lacked institutional control: The NCAA alleges the university lacked institutional control and “failed to monitor the conduct and administration of its athletics program.” Ole Miss says:
This charge replaces the more limited failure to monitor charge in the January 2016 Notice of Allegations. This is charged as a Level I violation that we will contest.
From last year, here’s our accounting of the initial 13 allegations:
1. Two former Ole Miss assistants helped fix recruits' ACT scores.
By any measure, this is the top of the ticket.
The NCAA says previous coaching staff assistants Chris Vaughn and David Saunders instructed recruits to take the ACT college entry exam at a specific high school in Wayne County, Miss., in June 2010.
As they were taking their tests, Vaughn and Saunders instructed the recruits to leave blank any answer space for a question they weren't confident about answering correctly, the NCAA says. This would, in turn, allow the correct answers to be filled in later, giving these players higher scores -- presumably so they'd qualify to play at Ole Miss.
As a result, the NCAA says three Ole Miss players competed while they weren't really eligible during the 2011 season, and one of those players continued to play while ineligible for three more seasons, through 2014.
Ole Miss agreed in its response that the testing fraud happened, though the school was light on details of what exactly went down. Ole Miss says there's no evidence that anybody at the school with the exception of the two former assistants was involved.
2. Some Ole Miss booster gave a family member $800 in cash in August 2014.
The juice of this allegation depends mostly on the means of financial transfer. Was the alleged payment delivered in a duffel bag? A wad of cash? A wire transfer? Venmo?
Ole Miss has responded affirmatively, that a booster met the family member in Oxford's airport and handed him $800. Airports are somewhat clandestine.
This family member is referred to throughout the NCAA's allegations and Ole Miss' response to them as "Family Member 1." Based on everything we've known for months, this appears to be Tunsil's stepfather, and Tunsil appears to be listed as "Student-Athlete 1." He personally told the NCAA about much of this.
3. A trio of Ole Miss assistants cheated in recruiting six players in 2010.
The allegations here focus mostly on Vaughn and Saunders, but also on current assistant Derrick Nix. (Ole Miss agrees Vaughn and Saunders were involved in them but says the NCAA has overstated Nix's involvement.) In total, the NCAA says $1,750 in impermissible benefits reached six recruits.
The aim of the help, according to the NCAA, was to help the recruits with transportation to a summer class that would aid their eligibility status with Ole Miss. (Meals were also involved.)
Ole Miss is in trouble for helping prospective student-athletes get to class.
4. Players got a lot of help with car loans.
All under one allegation, the NCAA outlines four automobile-related charges against Ole Miss, all occurring between 2014 and 2015. They're all fairly boring, relating to plumb loan deals players got on cars.
Three of the four are against Student-Athlete 1, Tunsil. There's one other car allegation against a non-Tunsil player.
The NCAA estimates the car arrangements resulted in $7,495 of impermissible benefits altogether. Ole Miss agrees this happened.
5. Ole Miss made personalized hype videos for recruits.
The NCAA claims head coach Hugh Freeze, in 2013, directed an Ole Miss video staffer to take pictures of recruits in the Rebels' indoor practice facility, wearing official team apparel, and then had the pictures incorporated into "commercial-style" videos to be played for the recruits and their families while they were on visits.
6. Assistant coach Maurice Harris helped link recruits with a booster who was giving them impermissible benefits.
The NCAA alleges -- and Ole Miss accepts -- that a booster who also volunteered at a local high school gave several recruits what amounted to $2,250 worth of "recruiting inducements," including lodging, transportation and meals.
Maurice Harris, still an Ole Miss assistant, facilitated $485 out of that total and knew of the booster's relationship with Ole Miss prospects, the NCAA estimates.
7. Ole Miss put up a player's family members in hotels and various rental properties without getting payments.
Ole Miss admits to $2,253 of extra benefits having gone out to a player's family (and an associated boyfriend) in the form of free lodging around Oxford.
8. A “failure to monitor” charge, which Ole Miss suggests is now morphed into a broader allegation of a lack of institutional control.
Ole Miss agrees that the loaner cars went out improperly, but it denies that it negligently failed to keep track of what was happening.
The University and the enforcement staff agree on the facts at the heart of both questions, but the University does not agree that these underlying facts constitute a violation of NCAA legislation and therefore denies Allegation No. 2.
9. Ole Miss assistant Chris Kiffin let a player sleep on his couch without demanding $33 in payment for his services.
We've got a real bombshell here.
It is alleged that in the summer of 2013, Chris Kiffin, assistant football coach, provided [an unnamed player] with two nights' lodging at his residence. The monetary value of the extra benefit was approximately $33.
There are a lot of questions around this. Did the player sleep in a bed? On a couch? On an air mattress? Was there a TV in the room? If so, how many inches was it?
It's fascinating that the NCAA devoted real man hours to figuring out the per-night value of a stay in an assistant football coach's home.
Ole Miss agrees this happened.
10. Kiffin talked to two high school players in an office when he wasn't allowed.
Ole Miss agrees that Kiffin spent 10 minutes speaking privately with two players about their recruitment in a high school office room in the spring of 2014.
Neither player actually committed to Ole Miss, and Kiffin was banned from doing off-campus recruiting for 30 days, which actually sounds kind of like a reward.
11. Kiffin had Ole Miss give recruiting benefits to a man who wasn't a player's "real" father, but instead was just a "father figure."
NCAA rules permit schools to pay for things when recruits take one of their five "official" visits to a campus, and those benefits extend to their legal guardians.
One recruit came to Ole Miss with a man whom Kiffin viewed as the player's "real" father, but was not his biological father. Kiffin "failed to make the distinction clear," Ole Miss says, and so the man and his wife received impermissible benefits in the form of meals and lodging, under the assumption he actually shared DNA with the recruit.
The NCAA calls this a Level II violation, but Ole Miss wants it to be Level III, the lowest level, and cites precedent to that effect.
12 and 13. The NCAA says Vaughn and Saunders, once they were already gone from Ole Miss, lied to investigators and weren't fully cooperative.
Two allegations are lumped into one here.
Both Vaughn and Saunders deny they were involved in the fixing of ACT scores, and the NCAA claims it has evidence that illustrates they're not telling the truth. The NCAA also says Vaughn had inappropriate contact with its enforcement investigators in 2013.
Ole Miss isn't taking any position, because both men were out of the program by the time the actions in question may or may not have occurred .
So, there’s the whole list.
Ole Miss is facing a whole bunch of allegations.