How is the Ole Miss NCAA case tied to the one continually affecting Carolina?
The University of Mississippi is in a mighty big mess with its football program, and what happens between the school and the NCAA poses an interesting juxtaposition to UNC’s case of impermissible benefits for academic guidance.
The Ole Miss meeting with the NCAA Committee on Infractions is scheduled for September 21, when 21 allegations will be adjudicated and penalties subsequently decided a month or so later. UNC’s hearing with the COI is later this month, but the announced penalties will be so close in time that comparisons are unavoidable.
Of the Rebels’ 21 acknowledged violations, 15 are Level I’s, the most serious under NCAA rules. Ole Miss is accused of boosters providing recruits with impermissible benefits such as cash, gifts and a lack of institutional control, while former head coach Hugh Freeze is accused of failing to monitor his staff. The school has already pleaded guilty and self-imposed a post-season ban for 2017 and the loss of scholarships, as well as forfeited its share of post-season revenue from the SEC, which could be as much as $7.8 million.
In comparison, that seems far worse than UNC’s debatable five Level I allegations, the most serious being a lack of institutional control over aspects of the controversial courses offered in the old AFAM department. To this point, no one is really sure if those are even NCAA violations.
Further complicating the comparison is the head of the Committee on Infractions for UNC’s hearing is Greg Sankey, the SEC commissioner who Carolina tried to get removed from that position because of his supposed biased toward his own league member, which Sankey has defended publicly.
Will the NCAA accept what Ole Miss has already given up and hit UNC with worse penalties in two cases that aren’t even close to being apples versus apples? It’s another element of intrigue that will be watched closely and, without a doubt, scrutinized when all the penalties are announced.
Call it the height of irony if an academic issue not in the NCAA’s jurisdiction draws stiffer sanctions than the mess at Ole Miss.