Report: Leo Lewis told NCAA COI that Mississippi State paid him $10,000 to sign
It was reported Thursday that Ole Miss expects to receive final word from the NCAA in the next 24 hours following the yearslong investigation into the program’s alleged recruiting violations. At the heart of the saga is 21 violations the football program is accused of committing. Once the school receives the news, which is expected Friday morning to afternoon, the information will be made public soon after.
Due to the fact the NCAA does not have subpoena power, the organization must resort to creative ways to gain information. In the case against Ole Miss, the NCAA reached out to former recruits of the school asking them to come forward with information against Ole Miss in exchange for total immunity from any violations they had committed. The NCAA found at least one player willing to talk in Mississippi State’s Leo Lewis.
A portion of the NCAA’s case was bolstered by the information Lewis provided. It should be noted that Lewis was an Ole Miss commit before he decommitted and signed with Mississippi State the weekend before National Signing Day in 2016.
Lewis spoke to the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions hearing in September to describe his involvement in violations committed by Ole Miss. In a recent report from Steven Godfrey of SBNation, Lewis admits to taking $10,000 from a junior college coach to go to Mississippi State — presumably outside of the payments he received from Ole Miss.
According to sources, Lewis told the Committee on Infractions he received a cash payment of $10,000 “from Mississippi State” on the eve of National Signing Day 2016 to sign with the Bulldogs. When pressed by members of the COI to elaborate, sources say that Lewis stated that he received money to attend MSU from Calvin Green, a defensive backs coach for Copiah-Lincoln Community College in Wesson, Miss. Green is the father of Farrod Green, Lewis’ friend and Mississippi State teammate, according to sources and documentation.
While many Ole Miss fans may take this as a “gotcha” moment against Lewis and MSU, according to the SBNation article, the payment may not technically be considered a violation. According to NCAA Bylaw 12, recruits are permitted to receive cash payments from non-family members or guardians if they had a relationship with the person before becoming an elite recruit. So if Lewis had a preexisting relationship with Green, it could be argued that no rules were broken here.
The full SBNation report can be read here, it’s definitely worth a read.