Attorney on NCAA case vs. Ole Miss: 'It is as close to the death penalty as you can get'
The ongoing NCAA case against Ole Miss was among the topics discussed by head coach Hugh Freeze during his media availability at the SEC’s 2017 spring meetings. Somewhat surprisingly, Freeze spoke openly about the topic and even sounded confident despite the many alleged violations the school is accused of committing under its current head coach.
“I look forward to the release on our side of things and being able to share that,” Freeze said Tuesday. “Finality is what we need, and that’s coming soon.”
While the Ole Miss administration has admitted to several of the violations and imposed a one-year bowl ban for the 2017 season, the school continues to fight against the most serious Level I violations it has been accused of by the NCAA. In what could be read as a sign of confidence by the school in regards to the case, Ole Miss even quietly extended Freeze’s contract this offseason, giving him four years remaining on his current deal. (In case you were unaware, the state of Mississippi does not allow contracts to be longer than four years in length.)
In total, the NCAA has accused Ole Miss of four Level I violations involving former assistant coach Barney Farrar:
- Providing lodging and transportation for recruits worth $2,200, and meals worth $235
- Providing false information knowingly about recruiting violations when asked by the NCAA and Ole Miss Football
- Boosters contacting one athlete committed to another NCAA football program, and allowed a cash payment(s) to that athlete worth $13-15,000
- Distributing athletic gear, courtesy of a company owned by an Ole Miss booster, to recruits
Farrar is a key figure in the case against Ole Miss. Farrar served as an assistant A.D./high school and junior college relations for the Rebels from late 2011 until November of 2016. Ole Miss placed Farrar on administrative leave in November and has since cut all ties with him. No longer a member of the staff, Farrar had to hire his own counsel in Bruse Loyd of Jones, Gillaspia & Loyd LLP.
Loyd recently spoke with Jojo Gentry, the Sports Director at WEVV (Fox44/CBS44), to discuss the case against Ole Miss.
“It is as close to a death penalty as you can get without having that actually happen,” Loyd said. “Coach Farrar has been questioned extensively, in fact, five times by the NCAA about those allegations.”
According to Loyd, Ole Miss is in this situation after failing to follow the NCAA’s rules and is concerned his client has become singled out by the school as a possible scapegoat for the many alleged violations.
“To use the excuse that everyone else is doing it, that’s just not a good defense,” Loyd continued. “That’s not a good reason. That’s not an acceptable reason. Some of these rules, you wish they weren’t there but the fact of the matter is they are — and they’ve got to be enforced, and they’ve got to be followed. And if you don’t, you’ll find yourself in the position the University of Mississippi athletic department has found itself.”
According to Gentry, Ole Miss has submitted its response to the NCAA’s latest notice of allegations last week. The school’s response is expected to be released to the public sometime this week.