Tuesday, June 6, 2017

NCAA charges Ole Miss with lack of institutional control, Ole Miss responds, Boosters cited.

Note: This post reports the NCAA Amended Notice of Allegations against Ole Miss.  The Ole Miss response will be reported in a later post.  

The NCAA charged Ole Miss with a lack of institutional control over its football program in an amended notice of allegations that was provided to the school in February.  The notice contains 21 charges against the program. Ole Miss posted a copy of the 2017 NCAA notice of allegations and the university's response to them on its website today. .The notice and response is posted below.  The notice states that 15 boosters were involved in the violations but redacts their names.  Several coaches and athletic department employees were allegedly involved in the cheating as well.   The alleged violations took place from 2010 to 2016.

 The NCAA charged Ole Miss with 21 allegations of violations of NCAA rules. The allegations are itemized below. but they accuse coaches and/or boosters of paying players, altering ACT exams, improperly loaning cars, improperly contacting recruits, providing free transportation, trips, and hotel rooms to recruits and their families, and other violations.  An effort was made to condense the charges into a shorter list for those who do not have the time or inkling to read thirty pages.  Much more information is provided in the notice of allegations.

The key charge is Allegation #21.  It charges Ole Miss with a lack of institutional control and pulls no punches.  The NCAA spells out its case in one passage:

The violations detailed in Allegation Nos. 1, 2 and 5 through 21 occurred over several years and involved two different coaching staffs. Additionally, the alleged violations involved unethical conduct, fraudulence in connection with college entrance exams, substantial or extensive recruiting inducements and extra benefits and impermissible conduct by football personnel and representatives of the institution's athletics interests. (p.24)
It states that the findings:

 demonstrate that between May and June 2010 and from May 2012 through January 2016, the institution failed to exercise institutional control and monitor the conduct and administration of its athletics program....

 The alleged violations involve multiple constituents of the football program, including football personnel, representatives of the institution's athletics interests, football student-athletes and football prospective student-athletes and their families, and include a range of misconduct. Additionally, the alleged violations transpired over several years, including during the NCAA enforcement staff's investigation....

The NCAA states that Ole Miss cooperated with the investigation and reported many of the violations. The NCAA also criticized Coach Hugh Freeze and several members of his staff and Athletic Department employees for either committing violations or failing to foster a culture of compliance. The allegations posted below state the accusation of each individual's role in the scandal.

Level I Allegations

Allegation  #1: David Saunders (Admin. Ops Coordinator for Fooball) and Assistant Football Coach Chris Vaughn helped recruits cheat on the ACT in 2010.  They allegedly told three recruits to take the test at a specific high school.  The recruits were told to leave questions they could not answer blank.  They arranged for the ACT testing supervisor to alter their exams and scores.  The students played as members of the team from 2010 to 2013 although they played at different times.

Allegation #2: Saunders and Vaughn arranged for a booster (B1) to give free housing, meals, and transportation to five recruits.  They used another assistant coach, Derrick Nix, to facilitate the um, arrangements.  A sixth player was given free food and lodging as well.  This illegal assistance allowed them to enroll in summer classes somewhere (redacted) so they could meet NCAA eligibility requirements.  These players competed as members of the team between 2010 and 2013.  Allegations  #3 and #4 accuse Vaughn and Saunders of engaging in a coverup, lying to investigators, and trying to obtain information about the investigation after being told not to do so.

 Another booster (B2) is accused of improperly contacting four recruits and providing them with "impermissable inducements" such as transportation and free meals for recruiting visits in Allegation #5.  B2 also paid for hotel rooms on other occasions. He also contacted the mother of a recruit after Recruiting Director Maurice Harris asked him to do so.  B2 also accompanied Head Coach Hugh Freeze and Harris on recruiting visits.  B2 paid the telephone bills for a recruit and his mother in one month.  He paid for two recruits to attend the Music City Bowl in Nashville. B2 arranged more off-campus visits between Harris and recruits and paid for transportation for recruits to visit the home of Coach Freeze. (p.6, j).  B2 accompanied them on their visits to Coach Freeze's home as well.  B2 even hosted recruiting visits at his home where both Harris and the recruit would meet each other.  B2 even showed his interest in their studies as he paid for the tutoring and academic assistance for three recruits in 2012-2013 term.

B8 was the subject of Allegation #9.  The NCAA alleged that B8 worked with Kiffin and Assistant Athletic Director Barney Farrar, to provide several thousand dollars of merchandise from B8's business to recruits and their family members.   It if further alleged that the two Ole Miss employees directed the players to B8 so they could obtain said merchandise.  These gifts took place between January 2013 and January 2016.

Next up is Booster #6 (B6).  He made the mistake of providing free lodging at a business he owns to family members of Ole Miss student-atheletes.  Allegation #11 charges him with allowing one mother to stay at the (assumed) hotel for free for twelve nights.

Allegation #14 shows the Puppetmaster (sarcasm) at work.  It charges Farrar with arranging more free transportation and hotel rooms for recruits and their family through the use of boosters in the summer of 2014.  Farrar supposedly had Booster #13 (B13) to subsidize transportation for one recruit's visit to football camp.  Booster #12 (B12) paid for another recruit to attend football camp.  B13 provided more transportation, hotel rooms, and meals on other occasions in 2014 (p.14).

Money.  When do we get to some actual pay for play? Allegation #15 delves into that charge.  Booster 10 (B10) allegedly gave cash, food, and drinks to recruits and their families in 2014 and 2015.  The cash payments were allegedly between $100 and $200 to one recruit.

Then there is Booster 14 (B14).  14? How many boosters were involved in this mess? Allegation #16 (almost there, can you tell I'm getting bored?).  B14 illegally contacted one recruit and gave him "$13,000 and $15,600" in cash payments.  B12 apparently worked for B14 and also delivered cash payments to the recruit.  The notices accuses Farrar of knowing these boosters were making payments to the recruit. Ouch. The alleged payments took place in 2014 and 2015.   Allegation #17 charges Farrar with lying to investigators and engaging in a cover-up of his wrongdoing.

Back to Booster #5 (B5).  Allegation #18 claims B5 paid $800 cash to the step-father of a player in August 2014.

Free rides.  What would a recruiting scandal be without free cars for recruits or players?  Ole Miss is no exception in that regard as Allegation #19 accuses Booster #3 (B3) of "loaning" a Nissan Titan from his dealership to a player in 2014 The player elected not to get his car repaired and kept the loaner for another two months.  The allegation claims that the compliance department at Ole Miss knew about this "loan" but ignored it.  However, B3 allegedly loaned a 2004 used Chevy Tahoe (cheapskate*) to a player for three months and an Amrada for another month. B3 repeatedly allowed players to "borrow" vehicles for long periods of time when they brought in their vehicles for service.  One player purchased a 2010 Dodge Challenger from the dealership but did not actually make the $3,000 down payment even though the financing agreement stated he did so. 

*At least Audobon Ford in Baton Rouge gave new cars to players back in the day, not ten year old used-cars.  See John Williams.

Level II Violations

Allegation #8 involved more free hotel rooms and meals for recruits and their family members.  The notice accuses assistant football coach Chris Kiffin of arranging these illegal inducements. 

Level III Violations

One allegation (#6) took Ole Missi to task for Ole Miss producing videos for recruits that showed other recruits and their families in gasp, Ole Miss gear.  The videos were played on two weekends.

Hunting for the basis for allegation #7.  The NCAA apparently doesn't think that a recruit has a God-given right to hunt if he is a Southerner, NCAA rules be damned.  The "football program" arranged "free access" to some prime hunting land owned by a booster (B7) connected to the program in January 2013 (p.8).   The hunting trips took place during his official visit to Ole Miss.   B7 provided more hunting trips to the recruit after he became a member of the team.

Allegation #10 charges Kiffin with allowing a player to stay at his home for two nights in 2013.  The grand total value of this dastardly deed was all of $33.

Got to watch where you go.  Allegation #12 and #13 charges Coaches Freeze and Kiffin made "impermissable" off-campus visits to recruits at their high schools and spoke to them for five to ten minutes.  One event happened in 2013 and the other contact occurred in 2014.


Anonymous said...

I love the contradictions embedded within their twin defenses:

(1) "We have the foremost surveillance and detection system for monitoring institutional control in the history of the world!!11!1 THE WORLD!11!!1"

(2) "Barney is a super bad man with an evil heart. He hid his terrible deeds from us in such a way that we had no way to know what he was doing."

Color me unimpressed with the lawyering. But, God bless 'em. Asked to make beaver salad out of beaver $h!+.

Anonymous said...

Every time a small school has rolled over and tried to play nice they get hammered. Fight it to the very end. Bama and the big schools do all of this year in and year out. Let one of the Mississippi schools try to follow their lead and its example time.

Anonymous said...

6:36 I'm sure you have many crayons to choose from

Anonymous said...

So let me get this straight.

Barney, an assistant coach, hatched a nefarious scheme to cheat in recruiting. This career-risking scheme would benefit Freeze (who is compensated mainly based on on-field performance and recruit rankings) no matter what. But it would benefit Barney ONLY if Freeze and others at Ole Miss KNEW that Barney did it and could compensate him for it.

And yet, Barney hid this insidious, career-risking scheme from his boss because --what?-- he just loved the idea of bringing gridiron glory to Ole Miss, no matter the cost?

That's like a low level accountant at some big company cheating on the corporate taxes ... because he just wants the company to be slightly more profitable, no matter the risk to him.

In other words, it's an insane argument on its face.

Anonymous said...

Waiting for Cliff Notes.

Anonymous said...

It doesn't seem that a man of Mr. Freeze's character would be throwing his good friend Mr. Farrar under the bus like this. Mr. Freeze is a very complex individual...his actions don't always align with his mouth. The only thing that I can come up with is that he believes the end justifies the means in that his end is always heppin his players like no one else can.

Anonymous said...

7:04, really? That's your comeback? Damn, that's weak. I suspect you haven't been this disappointed since integration.

Anonymous said...

Try to keep in mind that some Ole Miss folks are such that one could be the World's richest lawyer, a Democratic royal, brother in law of the Senate Majority Leader, and throw it away on a Calhoun County chump change case. It's about being a big shot in the nation's poorest, fattest, and dumbest state. Winning! And the NCAA knows this denial of reality drill. Fewtbawl. Drankin'. And a wearin' a vomit stained blazer to a ball game. Important stuff to Hicks with delusions of grandeur. Hotty Toddy. Ain't we special. No. We're not.

Anonymous said...

So Leo Lewis claims on Page 55 that he got 10k from Ole Miss AND 10k from Mississippi State. LOL.

You're up next, Bulldogs. This shithead is bringing us both down.

Anonymous said...

OM probably made a mistake by throwing Barney under the bus. His coaching career is probably over so he now has no reason to take all the heat for the "team". Big name players on every team get extra benefits but you have to do it thr right way and not be so obvious. Freeze
Got too close to some big time booster and let them get too involved

Anonymous said...





Anonymous said...

KINGFISH is loving this catfish be civil with each other Dogs and Bears...... not really I am enjoying it too

Anonymous said...

7:24. We assume that was sarcasm. You don't actually need this explained to you. Right ?

Anonymous said...

8:10, DS still has a few hundred mill more than you. And he is not done.

Anonymous said...

8:41 -- Explain away. Ole Miss's lawyers seem to have missed this obvious not-indicative-of-a-lack-of-institutional-control explanation in their response, but I'm sure you can clear things up for all of us.

Whenever you're ready.

PittPanther said...

Ole Miss football sucked for 40 years, then suddenly they were a top 10 program. That doesn't happen on merit. We all knew they cheated.

Anonymous said...

8:32 -- Pretty sure MSU's code name in the response is "Institution 10." The sentence on p.55 you refer to just mentions "another institution." Not saying Lewis won't end up getting State investigated --and I could be mistaken-- but I don't think this particular reference is to MSU.

Kingfish said...

Just one player and his testimony?

Ask Dale Brown about Lester Earl. Yes, I know, it's basketball.

Programs have been sunk by a single player.

Anonymous said...

You either have chicken salad or chicken shit and the Tribe of the Hotty Toddy appears to have plate full of droppings!

Anonymous said...

7:24, my understanding is Farrar carried the job title of assistant AD, which would seem to be a bit more damning than if he were just a football assistant, as it shows corruption throughout the entire athletic department.

8:32, I haven't read all of this, but if MSU is Institution 10, what information did 1-9 provide?

Anonymous said...

Beating Bama Two years in a row and a sugar bowl win..... Hell it was worth it!

Anonymous said...

I think we could all use a break.

Roll Tide

Anonymous said...

Didn't you OM Faithful who are chattering about MSU learn a lesson from the Hillary campaign? Childish deflections and pointing 'Look! Over there! It's some kind of possum!', doesn't work and you still take a public beating and lose?

Anonymous said...

It's being reported now that the NCAA is now investigating MS State and their recruitment of Leo, which of course logically makes sense. "So you're saying you took 10k from Ole Miss and 10k from LSU, but then signed with MSU for free?"

This is the reason that Saban told his players to STFU and not say anything to the NCAA about Ole Miss.

Anonymous said...

9:31, you need a life. You are the only one in here with little brother syndrome, constantly telling us how Ole Miss is right and how Ole Miss and the NCAA is going to bring the thunder on MSU next. Grow up. This is your party. We'll get to the MSU investigation once its announced and something is going on with it. Go ahead and #wintheday.

Anonymous said...

Love the headline...Boosters revealed...and then after a half an hour of so reading, learn you posted the headline without reading the posts first....B1 is hardly a reveal

Anonymous said...

"So you're saying you took 10k from Ole Miss and 10k from LSU, but then signed with MSU for free?"

That's absolutely what he's saying. Why not? If I'm a kid from a working class background, I'm going to let all of these fat white guys give me tons of money, and promise them all the world for it. And then I'm going wherever the hell I want to go.

What are they going to do? Sue me? Report me to the NCAA?

Hence the Joker GIF on Leo Lewis's twitter feed. Wouldn't be surprised if he wore a No. 39 jersey in the Egg Bowl, just to remind you again.

He played you. Get over it.

Anonymous said...

LOL at thinking State got Leo for free!!! Bahahahahaababah. That kid was always going to the highest bidder.

Anonymous said...

... learn you posted the headline without reading the posts first ...

WRONG. From the outset Kingfish noted that the booster names remained redacted. Please catch up.

Wow said...

Kingfish can you explain / do you know about the Ethics Commission piece?

As I understand it from your posts, the Ethics Commission ruled strongly that the university was in the wrong in regards to not releasing the information (boosters' names, etc.) after a Public Records Request.

However in their release yesterday, the university cites this as an "ongoing case with Ethics Commission" and as the only reason for why the booster names are still redacted.

What happens next? Is this along with the outside counsel receiving the NOA delay tactics?

Anonymous said...

Why are so many of these Ole Miss puritans trying to blame virtually everything on Ms. State? Ole Miss has flagrantly violated these rules for years (as have others), but they got caught. Ole Miss should write a thank you note to So. Meth. Univ. (SMU) for getting caught and having been given the death penalty, which proved disastrous.

Anonymous said...

@10:19 - am I missing something? Where does LSU come in to this?

Anonymous said...

Look, over there! It's some kind of possum!

Anonymous said...

Actually, whether you people like it or not and whether you belong to the Kingfish Defense Club or not....the headline is indeed misleading. Should at least say 'anonymous donors cited'.

You can't correct this misleading headline by claiming, "Oh, but the other day he said they were redacted so he's claimed it from the outset".

That's kinda like the stooge who claims, "The other day he said he got something from LEO confidentially so it should be clear that all of his 'confidential facts' came from LE".

See how this works?

Anonymous said...

9:31 - Fighting the good fight, huh?

Literally it is NO WHERE that MSU is getting investigated in anything.

For lawyerin' types, you guys don't understand immunity, do you?

Anonymous said...

Also, 9:31, if you had the ever-slightest clue about what you were talking about, you would know that NCAA student-athletes do not have a choice when being questioned by the NCAA. They have to comply, or be ruled ineligible by the governing committee. So, no, Saban can't tell his players to "plead the 5th".... this isn't a damn courtroom, ya moron!

Anonymous said...

but mommie all the other kids are doing it why can't I do it.

Anonymous said...

@2:17, limited immunity in the NCAA only applies to the student-athlete THEMSELVES (they can't be suspended or disqualified), not to schools they drop dirt on, even including the school where they currently attend. If they so choose, the NCAA can act on any information derived from an immunity interview against any school they wish. Several weeks ago, the NCAA interviewed a former and a current MSU coach regarding the recruitment of Lewis and just recently they interviewed the current MSU coach a second time about it. Lewis is a dummy who couldn't get his facts or his story straight and very likely implicated Mississippi State in wrongdoing themselves.

Again, he took large amounts of money from other schools, but then went to Starkville for free? EL-OH-EL. C'mon guys.

Anonymous said...

@ 5:28 is using logic by saying that if Leo took money from Ole Miss, then he probably took money from MSU since that is where he signed. Using that same logic, if Ole Miss gave money to a 4-star LB, then how much did they give to a 5-star QB, a 5-star OL, and a 5-star WR. Those are higher paid positions. You know Patterson gets more money than Leo was offered.

Anonymous said...

Deflect, deflect is the new phrase from the reb faithful. You are about to get destroyed due to much more dirt than Leo Lewis provided but whatever helps you get through the next few falls of disappointment!!

Anonymous said...

So nothing in the second NOA about Tunsil? Didn't Bjork say the investigation was over until Tunsil's draft night interview flub? Guess that's proven to be a ball face lie. Why would anyone believe anything he or Freeze say at this point?

Anonymous said...

Skating on easy street in all this is the current chancellor up at TSUN. Remember? He's the guy who got the interim to take down the flag a week before he (Vitter) appeared on campus for his coronation. That way he (Vitter) could do the Sgt Schultz dance and claim, "I know N U T T H I N K !"

Vitter is totally distanced from this whole thing. If he were the least bit engaged, as all other SEC chancellors are (at least minimally), he'd be asking for resignations.

Both the reverend and BEE-ORK are playing the chancellor like a broke fiddle. dee. dum.

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