Editorial: Ole Miss Needs to Stop Playing Nice with the NCAA

Dec 22, 2015; Oxford, MS, USA; Mississippi Rebels head football coach Hugh Freeze talks with Mississippi athletic director Ross Bjork during a mens basketball game between the Rebels and the Troy Trojans at the Tad Smith Coliseum. Mississippi defeated Troy 83-80. Mandatory Credit: Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 22, 2015; Oxford, MS, USA; Mississippi Rebels head football coach Hugh Freeze talks with Mississippi athletic director Ross Bjork during a mens basketball game between the Rebels and the Troy Trojans at the Tad Smith Coliseum. Mississippi defeated Troy 83-80. Mandatory Credit: Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports /

The NCAA has been investigating the Ole Miss football program for the past few years, all the while the administration has played nice in hopes for a lesser penalty.

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The University of Mississippi is something I love dearly. I have always been a Rebel fan, and now I get the wonderful opportunity to attend and receive an education from the University. Some of you may wonder why I am saying this, but I just want to offer a preface to what I am about to say.

The Ole Miss athletics administration needs to step up to the plate and stop playing nice with the NCAA. The school has reportedly been awarded the honor of “exemplary cooperation.” What does that mean? It means Ole Miss has helped the NCAA with their investigation from the beginning.

When you are being investigated by the NCAA, there are usually two different ways you can handle it. You can go the same route as Auburn did with the Cam Newton investigation and tell the NCAA to screw off, or you can follow the path that Ole Miss has taken and hope for a lighter penalty.

This is not the first time that Ole Miss has taken this road with the NCAA. In the 1990s the NCAA discovered that Ole Miss committed many recruiting violations while on probation, a heinous crime in the eyes of the NCAA.

Billy Brewer was at the head of these violations. Here is what Wikipedia has on the 1993 investigation.

"However, in December 1993, Brewer and Ole Miss were again hit by allegations of recruiting violations. The NCAA would eventually cite the program for 15 transgressions, all of them serious and some of them embarrassingly lurid. An NCAA report said that Ole Miss boosters and coaches had offered recruits gifts, including cash and, in one case, a car. Boosters were also accused of breaking national rules by taking recruits 30 miles outside of Oxford, sometimes to strip clubs in Memphis. Most damningly, the NCAA alleged that Ole Miss officials knowingly allowed the violations to occur, demonstrating a lack of institutional control of the football program."

While this investigation is slightly different from the one we are facing today, due to the fact that Brewer and the Rebels were already on probation, the initial investigation that landed the Rebels on probation is the one to look at.

In 1987 the NCAA found Ole Miss guilty of multiple recruiting violations. After this two-year investigation was finalized, the Rebels were banned from postseason play and from playing on television for the 1987 football season.

So what does this have to do with the investigation of today? The way that the athletic department handled the investigations.

Ole Miss cooperated with the NCAA in the 1990s and received sanctions from the NCAA that nearly crippled the football program.

Why is Ole Miss so quiet on this?

Ole Miss has sat quietly and listened to every media member and media company in the country defame the name of the school and it’s athletes. Is this part of the cooperation that the school is trying?

While Ole Miss has stayed quiet on the issues, the NCAA sure has not. With leak after leak of information on the investigation, the NCAA has proven that they do not care if the investigation results get leaked to the public eye.

One name many look to is Chris Howard, a former member of the compliance department at Louisiana State. Howard is now an investigator for the NCAA, and was reportedly removed from the Ole Miss investigation.

Howard was the investigator who interviewed Lindsey Miller in July 2015 after his fight with Laremy Tunsil.

Is he the one leaking the information to media outlets? While there is no proof that he is the leak, it seems like his name keeps popping up on an investigation that he is no longer apart of.

So what should Ole Miss do about the leaks? Well, for one, refute them. If they are not true, release a statement with your side of the story.

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Pat Forde recently released a story on Yahoo.com about how the NCAA is investigating former recruits about how they were recruited to Ole Miss, all the while offering immunity to the player and his school.

That story was released four days ago, and what has Ole Miss had to say about it? Nothing. It seems as if the school was surprised that it was happening. If that is true, and there was no Ole Miss representation at the meetings, Ole Miss needs to raise some hell.

These type of interviews reek of agenda. If the NCAA is not careful here, it is a slippery slope all the way to the bottom.

Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports was on The Audible podcast and discussed what he has heard about the investigation.

According to Feldman, multiple rival coaches have spoken to the NCAA about the Rebels.

Where is Greg Sankey on this issue? Coaches snitching on rival coaches? This will not end well if it is not taken care of.

Ole Miss, stop playing nice.

Stop allowing the NCAA to downtrodden your institution. Start asking some key questions. The first question I would ask is “why is this still going on?”

This investigation is going into its fourth year. Why? The notice of allegations has already been released, a response to the notice of allegation has also been released. Why are you still investigating us if these are the allegations?

Second question I ask is “why are you leaking information?” Ole Miss has stayed quiet and cooperated with the investigation, and the NCAA has continued to leak and release information through back channels to hurt the Rebels.

This whole investigation has hampered the Rebels recruiting this year and the image of the athletics program. The NCAA is dragging this out to hurt the Rebels, all the while they are looking for more evidence on the Rebels.

Ole Miss, it is time to wrap this up. Stop playing nice and fight the NCAA.