Just when it appeared the saga between the NCAA and Ole Miss was coming to an end, some new information has been reported.
Ole Miss and the NCAA enforcement staff met just last week with the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions in the final stages of the years-long investigation into the alleged NCAA violations that may have taken place under Hugh Freeze’s tenure. With the hearing over and done with, a ruling is expected within the next 6-8 weeks.
The final ruling was expected to end this saga, however, according to Andrew Beaton of The Wall Street Journal, Houston Nutt’s attorney, Thomas Mars, has made new allegations against Freeze and Ole Miss and his time at the school. Mars alleges that the former Ole Miss coaching staff used burner phones for the purposes of gaining a competitive advantage in recruiting — a clear violation of NCAA rules.
Here’s an excerpt from Beaton’s article:
Freeze and at least three other staff members used burner phones “on a regular basis” to hide communications with recruits that would violate NCAA rules. A later letter from Mars said he had a sworn affidavit testifying to Freeze’s use of burner phones, in violation of NCAA rules.
The accusation was made by Mars to the school, and to the administration’s credit, they took the allegations seriously.
After being made aware of the allegations, Ole Miss requested 29 people fill out a form asking each of them to disclose all information regarding any personal or burner phones used for recruiting. According to the school, all 29 people denied use of phones improperly.
Ole Miss AD Ross Bjork issued these statements according to the article.
“Our coaching staff understands the scrutiny that we’ve been under,” Bjork said. “We wanted to be proactive and organized. There’s no indication of any other violations like that.”
Once again, we have Nutt or his representatives saying one thing and Ole Miss saying the opposite. How this plays out will be something to watch in the coming weeks and months, but it would appear for now that the cloud hanging over the Ole Miss program may not be dissipating quite as soon as originally suspected.