A day after news broke that the University of Mississippi has been formally charged with rules violations by the NCAA, the school’s athletic director has issued a thorough statement.
Yahoo Sports’ Pat Forde first reported that the NCAA has alleged “roughly 30” violations in football, women’s basketball and track and field, and Rebels AD Ross Bjork offered details about the nature of the alleged violations. With respect to football, Bjork confirmed that “many” of the accusations pre-date the current coaching staff, while others relate to the Laremy Tunsil situation.
Via The Sun Herald, here is Bjork’s statement in full:
"Outside counsel for the University of Mississippi received a Notice of Allegations from the NCAA – another step in a more than three-year process. Included in the notice are alleged violations of NCAA bylaws in women's basketball in 2012; track and field in 2012-13; and in football, with many of the allegations dating back to the former football staff in 2010 and the withholding and reinstatement process around Laremy Tunsil in fall of 2015.
“To be clear, the NCAA has only brought allegations, and as part of the NCAA process, the University and others have 90 days to issue a response. We've been transparent throughout this process, and it is important to note that most of the football allegations are based upon facts that have been publicly disclosed previously in "self-reports" and reinstatement requests or have been reported publicly in connection with another NCAA case.
"Out of fairness to the individuals involved and the integrity of the NCAA process, we will not provide further details or comment until everyone has had an opportunity to review the allegations and respond. Once they do so, we will release the official notice and the university's response. In all three sports, I am confident in the leadership of our current head coaches and the manner in which they operate their programs."
Many reports have indicated the majority of the alleged violations are tied to investigations into the women’s basketball and track and field programs. RebelGrove.com reported Friday that “most of the football-related allegations date back to Houston Nutt’s tenure” as head coach. Nutt was the Rebels’ head coach from 2008 to 2011.
With respect to the current staff, as Bjork alluded to, the violations seem to stem from the Tunsil situation. SB Nation reported that current Ole Miss' coaches are "confident the allegations are secondary." Tunsil, an All-American offensive tackle, was suspended for seven games this season after the NCAA determined he received impermissible benefits.
Tunsil was allowed to use “three separate loaner vehicles over a six-month period without payment.” Additionally, the NCAA found that Tunsil received a “four-month interest-free promissory note on a $3,000 down payment for purchasing a used vehicle, two nights of lodging at a local home, an airline ticket purchased by a friend of a teammate, and one day use of a rental vehicle.”
The NCAA said Tunsil was not “completely forthcoming when initially questioned by investigators,” but later “corrected his account” and “apologized.” In addition to his suspension, Tunsil was forced to pay the amount of the extra benefits to a charity and perform community service.
Ole Miss withheld Tunsil from action for the first six games of the season until the NCAA completed its investigation. Tunsil was then suspended for an additional game before returning against Texas A&M on Oct. 24.
Tunsil has since declared for the NFL draft and is expected to be a first round selection.
For more Ole Miss news, visit RebelGrove.com.
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