The NCAA finally wrapped up its investigation into the Ole Miss recruiting scandal, and the resulting punishment is pretty harsh: a two-year postseason ban, scholarship reductions, and a handful of show-causes for various assistants and administrators.
The NCAA’s conclusion is essentially that Ole Miss assistant coaches and boosters were running wild and committing recruiting violations left and right. From the NCAA’s release:
Members of the football coaching staff knowingly committed recruiting violations and arranged for impermissible booster contact and involvement. Specifically, the assistant athletics director acted unethically when he arranged for boosters to provide prospects between $13,000 and $15,600 in cash payments, including $10,000 to one prospect, as well as lodging, meals and transportation. In addition, the assistant athletics director provided false and misleading information during his interview. An assistant coach and operations coordinator also acted unethically when they arranged the fraudulent ACT scores and arranged for a booster to provide housing and transportation to five prospects while they completed the necessary academic work to become eligible for competition. The assistant coach acted unethically and compromised the integrity of the investigation. The operations coordinator provided false and misleading information on multiple occasions during the investigation.
ESPN reports that the former assistant coaches who were hit with show-cause penalties include Chris Kiffin, Chris Vaughn, David Saunders, and Barney Farrar. You’ll remember Farrar as the former Hugh Freeze assistant that Ole Miss tried to pin all of the violations on when the NCAA’s investigation first began.
The NCAA didn’t quite buy that excuse, nor the idea that it was actually Freeze’s predecessor, Houston Nutt, who presided over most of the violations. Freeze was called out for failing to monitor his program in the NCAA’s press release, and was hit with a two-game conference ban. That doesn’t mean much at the moment, given that Freeze is without a job due to possible sex-having, but if another team hires him at any point during the next year, he’ll have to serve the suspension.