Ole Miss Disputes NCAA Lack of Institutional Control Charge
PROGRAM RESPONDING TO SECOND NCAA NOTICE OF ALLEGATIONS
OXFORD, Miss. (AP) — The University of Mississippi has contested the NCAA’s charges of lack of institutional control and failure to monitor by head coach Hugh Freeze.
The Ole Miss football program released its response Tuesday to a second NCAA Notice of Allegations in less than two years.
The school acknowledged wrongdoing during the introduction of a statement:
- Consistent with its commitment to getting it right, the University has conducted an exhaustive and thoughtful examination of the evidence. Based upon that review and the high evidentiary standard prescribed by Bylaw 126.96.36.199, the University has concluded that significant violations occurred in connection with its football program over a period of years, including during this investigation. These violations, which include multiple, intentional acts of misconduct by (now former) University employees and (now disassociated) boosters, are serious. As described in this response, the University has held those responsible accountable – many in unprecedented, public ways – and has taken institutional responsibility for what has occurred. The University firmly believes its bold corrective actions will make a meaningful and permanent difference.
The statement went on to dispute the highest accusation levied at the program of lack of institutional control:
- Yet, there are instances in which the University disagrees with the enforcement staff’s interpretation of the evidence or its sufficiency. Most importantly, the University contests the allegations concerning institutional control and head coach responsibility (Allegations Nos. 20-21). The University has consistently satisfied each of the four pillars of institutional control: (1) “adequate compliance measures exist”; (2) “they are appropriately conveyed to those who need to be aware of them”; (3) “they are monitored to ensure that such measures are being followed”; and (4) “on learning of a violation, the institution takes swift action.” See Exhibit IN-1, Division I Committee on Infractions’ Principles of Institutional Control (the “Principles”). It has myriad compliance measures in place, many of which have detected or prevented violations. Those measures have been bolstered over time as a result of evolving national best practices and “hot-button” issues, self-evaluation of areas to improve, and analysis of major infraction reports from across the country. The University has also improved its compliance systems based on lessons learned during this investigation. Because an institutional control charge was not included in the 2016 Notice based upon substantially similar facts, it appears this charge rests on the increased number of allegations, which has never been – and should not be – this Committee’s focus. Instead, the question before the Committee in evaluating the institutional control charge is whether the University had appropriate policies and procedures in place at the time of those violations, and if so, did the University implement and enforce those policies. Second, after careful analysis of the testimony and supporting records, the University has concluded that head football coach Hugh Freeze has met it and membership’s expectations to emphasize and promote compliance and to implement strong and comprehensive monitoring.
The first NOA alleged 13 violations while the second added eight more, bringing the total to 21. Fifteen of them are classified by the NCAA as Level I, which the governing body deems most serious.
Some of the charges date back to the tenure of previous coach Houston Nutt, who was fired in 2011, but most of the case involves conduct that happened under Freeze.
The sprawling case involves alleged academic, booster, and recruiting misconduct. Ole Miss has already self-imposed several penalties.
To read the full Ole Miss response, click here.