With the Notice of Allegations and the Ole Miss response now known, here’s how will it affect the recruiting efforts of the football program.
On Friday, Ole Miss released the Notice of Allegations they received from the NCAA along with their response to the NOA. Within the response, Ole Miss self-imposed the following penalties for football:
- No unofficial visits between February 21, 2016, and March 31, 2016
- Reduction of Spring 2015 evaluation days from 168 to 151(10%)
- Reduction of Spring 2016 evaluation days from 168 to 147(12.5%)
- Reduced overall and initial grants-in-aid between ’15-’16 and ’18-’19
- Removal of 9 scholarships over 3 years
It’s not quite over yet either. The NCAA still has to review the response and can either accept the self-imposed sanctions, leaving it at that, or they can add on.
The NCAA released a statement on Friday, as well, that said, “The institution(Ole Miss) was actively engaged and provided enforcement staff with valuable assistance.”
Based off that, along with people I have spoken to, it appears the Ross Bjork and company have been compliant in every shape and form for the duration of these last three or so years. That should bode well for them when the NCAA is determine whether or not to add any more sanctions.
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Also released Friday was that the revealing draft night for Laremy Tunsil was new information in the case. Ole Miss and the NCAA are currently looking into the situation. Personally, I don’t believe much will come of it.
Now, have said all of that said, how will this affect Ole Miss in their recruiting efforts? If you are in the group that thinks it has zero effect, you are wrong. Since Pat Forde released the article shortly before signing day that brought all of this to light(nationally at least), there has been a theoretical cloud over the NCAA program.
Without a doubt recruits are interested in Ole Miss and will continue to be as long as the current staff is in place, but the NCAA cloud of anticipation waiting for the sanctions has affected recruiting.
How big is that effect?
Big enough that Freeze and company only have four commits compared to our in-state rival Mississippi State’s 14. But no, the sky is not falling.
Since it doesn’t look like w receive a bowl/TV ban, I believe we’ll be just fine. I don’t think Ole Miss will be able to grab another top-five class, as they did in 2016, but after gauging interest from top recruits around the country, I certainly believe it will be another top 25 class.
A few weeks ago, I did an anonymous Q&A with 17, 4 and 5 star recruits, and only one mentioned that the ongoing NCAA investigation worried them. The rest, along with all of our other recruits, have been playing the waiting game to see what actually is going on.
Looking at it from a recruit’s perspective, they have Freeze and staff telling them it’ll be okay and that we’re going to receive some sanctions but nothing that is program-altering. Meanwhile they have coaches and fans from other schools telling them Ole Miss will go down in flames. In the recruits eyes, they haven’t known who to believe so they have been waiting to see what would actually happen.
Even with all the mess that has been going on, Ole Miss is, and will continue to recruit well for one reason. Hugh Freeze and his staff. To me, they are second to none on the recruiting trail and are elevating this program to heights we’ve never seen before.
Even if they are unable to get another top five class this year, they should add enough guys to keep this program where it is among the national “big boys” and finish with another top 25 class again.
Expect the four-member 2017 recruiting class to grow soon.