NCAA hits Ole Miss with bowl ban, reduction of scholarships

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OXFORD, Miss. -- Today, the NCAA officially informed Ole Miss of its penalties after a years-long investigation into several allegations against the football program.

The punishment includes an extension of the postseason bowl ban the Rebels self-imposed before the 2017 season, a reduction of scholarships, and a suspension for former Head Coach Hugh Freeze.

Freeze, who resigned for off-field issues in July, received a two-game conference suspension from the NCAA for failure to monitor his staff. The suspension applies only for head-coaching positions; there would be no restrictions if Freeze takes a job as a coordinator or assistant.

NCAA penalties for Ole Miss football:

• Three years of probation, until Nov. 30, 2020.
• A penalty of $5,000 plus 1 percent of average football budget for three years, which was calculated at $179,797 (self-imposed by university).
• Postseason ban for 2017 (self-imposed) and 2018 seasons.
• Hugh Freeze must serve a 2-game conference suspension for 2018 season should any school hire him between Dec. 1, 2017, and Nov. 30, 2018.
• An 8-year show-cause order for the operations coordinator. No athletically related duties or contact with prospective student-athletes and their families.
• A 5-year show-cause order for the assistant coach who facilitated standardized test fraud and living arrangements. No athletically related duties during this time.
• A 2-year show-cause order for other involved assistant coach. No off-campus recruiting activities or hosting any meals for prospects or student-athletes.
• A 5-year show-cause order for assistant athletics director. No recruiting activities during this time.
• Must vacate all regular-season and postseason wins in which ineligible student-athletes competed.
• Scholarship reductions through 2018-19 (self-imposed).
• Recruiting restrictions.
• Disassociation of boosters (self-imposed).
Ole Miss (6-6) will not participate in the 2017 postseason because of a self-imposed one-year bowl ban announced in February.

The NCAA ruled Ole Miss lacked institutional control and allowing "an unconstrained culture of booster involvement in football recruiting."

The Rebels were also penalized with scholarship reductions. The university, as part of self-imposed penalties, had already cut 11 scholarships over a four-year period from 2015 to 2018.

The school also has been put on probation for three years and must vacate records of all regular-season and postseason wins in which ineligible student-athletes competed. Ole Miss also must pay a financial penalty.

ESPN reports that Ole Miss seniors will be allowed to transfer without penalty because of the postseason ban for 2018

Ole Miss had also agreed to forfeit its share of SEC postseason revenues for this coming season

The University of Mississippi released a statement saying it would "vigorously appeal" the postseason ban, which it deemed "excessive" and "does not take into account the corrective actions that we have made in personnel, structure, policies and processes to address the issues."