Ole Miss follow up, part four

Shit, meet fan.

If the Committee agrees with the case against Ole Miss, a two-year bowl ban is a real possibility. The Rebels self-imposed a one-year ban on Wednesday, but the difference of a season is massive; a two-year ban would allow for current scholarship players to transfer without penalty.

Ole Miss would then have to survive being eaten alive by defections in addition to any potential scholarship restrictions the COI hands out.

Rival schools are not wasting time. When contacted by SB Nation Wednesday evening, coaches on two different SEC staffs confirmed their schools will evaluate the Rebels’ roster for potential talent, in case a two-year ban allowed transfers to play immediately.

Hoo, boy.  This is why you beef up support staffs, boys.

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Ole Miss follow up, part three

There is a fine line between arrogance and stupidity.  I’ll be damned if I can figure out on which side of the line Ole Miss falls.

Take, for example, the information that Dan Wolken provides about the school’s “remain calm, all is well” campaign early on.

The minute that 2013 class was signed with star recruits Robert Nkemdiche, Laquon Treadwell and Laremy Tunsil, Ole Miss knew the whispers of impropriety were never going to stop. Skepticism from rival coaching staffs and close scrutiny from the NCAA was a given. Meanwhile, Ole Miss and Freeze very carefully cultivated media allies to help build the narrative there was nothing to hide.

What does “cultivated media allies” mean, anyway?

Done out of ignorance, or merely a cynical attempt to sign a class, either way, it’s blown whatever credibility Bjork and Freeze had with the media.  Combined with the inept attempts on social media to appear casual about the investigation, and these guys look like a national joke.  That it happened because they hadn’t done their due diligence or simply because they didn’t give a rat’s ass makes you wonder what those guys were thinking.  Or even if they were thinking.

That’s not the weirdest thing I’ve come across so far, though.  Here’s a tidbit dropped by the guy who publishes the Rivals Ole Miss site:

Ole Miss, per multiple sources, possesses a recording, and has given the SEC a copy, of Lewis’ mother asking Ole Miss for money and detailing incentives she received from other programs, including Mississippi State.

Ole Miss is secretly taping recruits’ parents?  Holy shit.  Aside from the legality — and I have no idea whether Mississippi state law requires consent to be recorded — the optics of that are horrid.  Can you imagine the negative recruiting field day some rival programs are going to have with that?  Yet, if that allegation is to be believed, apparently someone with the program thought that was a good idea.  The big question about that is why that might have been the case.  Arrogance or stupidity?  You tell me.

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Ole Miss follow up, part two

Award for best timing:  Tray Scott, newly minted Georgia defensive line coach.  Greg McGarity is probably kicking himself right now for not making Kirby have Scott take the job at a salary discount.

Award for worst timing:  Meet the class of 2017.  Remember, kids, you commit to the school, not the coach.

Bonus — award for hurt feelings:  Bo Wallace.

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Ole Miss follow up, part one

Andy Staples makes some good points about the pressures the NCAA is under handling the investigation of Hugh Freeze’s program, but this one in particular resonated with me:

What does this mean for Ole Miss? It means the future prospects for the program and the people who run it look far worse than when the NCAA initially presented the Rebels with a Notice of Allegations last year. That original notice included a hodgepodge of ticky-tack violations that certainly didn’t bode well for the Rebels, but they could have been argued around. The small switch might have sufficed. But that notice came before some contents of one of former Ole Miss offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil’s devices got released on the first night of the NFL draft last April. Instead of holding a hearing based on those accusations, the NCAA re-opened the investigation. Had Ole Miss officials been told on draft night that the expanded investigation wouldn’t find any smoking guns (or gas masks) based on the text messages released on draft night, they likely would have breathed sighs of relief. The eight new allegations don’t include anything stemming from the draft night dump, but they do suggest a deeper pattern of violations of the NCAA’s rules. They include a charge that sometime between April 2014 and February 2015, an Ole Miss staffer introduced a recruit to two boosters who provided inducements valued between $13,000 and $15,600. The recruit then chose another school and dropped the dime on the Rebels when offered immunity…

Why does that resonate?  Because it reminds me of the NCAA’s approach in the AJ Green investigation.  Allegations about a Miami trip were complete bullshit, but the second bite at the apple, a simple question about looking at Green’s finances, yielded pay dirt.

What matters about Tunsil now isn’t that there are any allegations tied to him directly, but that what happened on draft night gave the NCAA the impetus to dig anew.  You can probably argue it also put the court of public sentiment on the side of the investigators, which ain’t an easy thing to do.  So, yeah, it was a big deal.

Seth Emerson wonders what might have been had Tunsil signed with Georgia.  Ole Miss fans should wonder what might have been had Tunsil not left early for the NFL draft.

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Lots of options

Just a reminder of who’s on the roster at offensive line going into spring practice:

Returning Starters/Contributors:Isaiah Wynn (Sr.), Lamont Gaillard (Jr.), and Dyshon Sims (Sr.)

Notes: Georgia loses Greg Pyke, Tyler Catalina and Brandon Kublanow from the 2016 season and that leaves three holes to fill. Right tackle, left tackle, and center. Gaillard is the favorite to step in at center although Sims has worked there quite a bit since last season’s bye week before the Florida game. Sims will also battle at left and right guard while Wynn gets looks at left guard and left tackle. All three improved as the year progressed in 2016 and will be light years ahead of others in regards to their knowledge and practice of the scheme.

Contenders: Pat Allen (Soph.), Kendall Baker (Jr.), Chris Barnes (RFr), Michael Barnett (Soph.), Aulden Bynum (Sr.), Ben Cleveland (RFr.), Sage Hardin (Soph.), D’Marcus Hayes (Jr.), Solomon Kindley (RFr.), and Sam Madden (Soph.)

Notes: This will be a big spring for each of these contenders and for difference reasons. It’s probably now or never for guys like Allen, Hardin and Madden. If they don’t make a move in their third year in the program, there’s a good chance those players from the 2016 and 2017 classes will leap over them. For guys like Bynum and Baker, time is running out in general.

Then you have Hayes, who’ll be given every opportunity to win a job at tackle. At 6-foot-6 the raw ability is there. Early word is that he must get in shape in order to win a job. Barnett has been working on the offensive line for just four months now, so he might need some time.

That’s thirteen; that’s also before you get the studs coming in for August.  That’s a lot of bodies to sort out between now and Appalachian State.

If you read Rowe’s analysis, things are pretty much in a state of flux, which is to be expected, given the hopes for Hayes to start at left tackle.  If he does, that probably cleans up a lot.  If he doesn’t, we may be looking at a situation very different from last year’s when the lineup was essentially settled after Catalina arrived.  If that’s because of competition — and you have to hope with the quality of the incoming class, it would be to some degree — well and good.  If that’s because they don’t have enough kids step up to play at an SEC level, get ready to pull your hair out again over the play calling.

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Signs you might be on a hot seat.

With Zach Azzanni’s departure to the NFL, Booch is now looking to fill his fifth position on the Tennessee staff this offseason.

If that isn’t telling enough,

After interviewing with the Bears within the past week, Azzanni, who passed up multiple chances to leave the Vols during his four seasons at Tennessee, accepted their offer late Tuesday night and informed his players on Wednesday morning.  [Emphasis added.]

Maybe Chicago has always been his dream job.

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Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange

Boom goes the NCAA’s dynamite.

Ole Miss, when you find yourself spending more than 20 minutes explaining your response to the latest round of NCAA’s Notice of Allegations, you’re losing.

These are the three allegations the school won’t challenge

1. The first allegation – it is alleged that a prospective student-athlete (Prospective Student-Athlete A) went hunting near campus on private land owned by a booster during his official visit in 2013 and on two or three occasions after he enrolled, and that the access to this land was arranged by the football program. This has been alleged as a Level III violation.

2. The second allegation – it is alleged that 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. The allegation is alleged as a Level I violation.

3. Third, it is alleged that Former Staff Member A violated the NCAA principles of ethical conduct when he knowingly committed NCAA recruiting violations between March 2014 and February 2015 and when he knowingly provided false or misleading information to the institution and enforcement staff in 2016. This is charged as a Level I violation.

Then, there’s one the school may or may not challenge.

4. In the fourth allegation, it is alleged that between April 2014 and February 2015, Former Staff Member A initiated and facilitated two boosters having impermissible contact with Prospective Student-Athlete B (who enrolled at another institution). It is further alleged that these two boosters provided Prospective Student-Athlete B (who enrolled at another institution) with impermissible cash payments during that timeframe and that Former Staff Member A knew about the cash payments. The value of the alleged inducements according to the NCAA is between $13,000 and $15,600. This is charged as a Level I violation.

The rest they intend to fight.

5. Allegation number five – It is alleged that one former staff member (Former Staff Member B) arranged for a friend of the family of Prospective Student-Athlete D to receive impermissible merchandise from a store owned by a booster on one occasion in 2013 and that Former Staff Member A arranged for Prospective Student-Athletes B and E (both student-athletes enrolled at another institution) to receive merchandise in 2014, 15, and 16. The value of the alleged impermissible recruiting inducements is approximately $2,800 and is charged as a Level I violation.

6. Number six – It is alleged and we will contest that, in 2014 a current football coach had impermissible, in-person, off-campus contact with Prospective Student-Athlete B (who enrolled at another institution). This allegation is charged as a Level III violation.

7. Allegation seven – It is alleged that a booster provided money, food and drinks to Prospective Student-Athlete B (who enrolled at another institution) and his companions at the booster’s restaurant on two-to-three unspecified dates between March 2014 and January 2015.   The value of the alleged inducements is between $200 and $600. This allegation is charged as a Level I violation that we will contest.

8. Another Allegation that we will contest is number eight – It is alleged that the head football coach violated head coach responsibility legislation. This allegation is not based upon personal involvement in violations by Coach Freeze but because he is presumed responsible for the allegation involving his staff that occurred between October 2012 and January 2016. 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. Finally, allegation nine – It is alleged that the scope and nature of the violations demonstrate that the university lacked institutional control and failed to monitor the conduct and administration of its athletics program.  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.

The last two are the real killers.  If you want the Cliff’s Notes version, Ole Miss is about to get seriously hammered.

To give you a rough idea of how serious this has gotten for the school, Ole Miss’ starting position is a self-imposed postseason ban for 2017.  There’s real money tied to that, too.

I bet there are a few tweets Bjork and Freeze wish they could have back now.  Have fun on the recruiting trail with this, fellas.  On the bright side, none of it has anything to do with Tunsil.  Stepdad must have made a helluva convincing witness.

I’m sure Greg Sankey’s a happy commissioner right now.  It would serve the SEC right if Ole Miss won the West this season.

*************************************************************************

UPDATE:  Best complaint ever.

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