Ole Miss must vacate 33 wins across 6 seasons

Sam Cooper
Because of NCAA violations, 27 of Hugh Freeze’s 39 wins at Ole Miss must be vacated. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)
Because of NCAA violations, 27 of Hugh Freeze’s 39 wins at Ole Miss must be vacated. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)

Ole Miss’ 2014 win over Alabama — you know, the one that caused Katy Perry to chug a beer and crowd surf at an Oxford bar — never happened, according to the NCAA.

According to RebelGrove.com, Ole Miss must vacate 33 of its wins from six seasons as the “final piece” of its NCAA punishment stemming from the array of NCAA violations in the football program under former head coaches Houston Nutt and Hugh Freeze. Of the 33 vacated wins, 27 were during Freeze’s tenure.

The news was announced Monday night by athletic director Ross Bjork at a town hall meeting.

In the NCAA’s eyes, ineligible players suited up for Ole Miss in all of its wins from 2010 (four), 2011 (two), 2012 (seven) and 2016 (five). Additionally, all of the team’s regular season wins in 2013 and eight of its 2014 wins must also be vacated.

Of note to Ole Miss fans, however, is this news: the 2015 Sugar Bowl victory over Oklahoma State will remain. The Rebels will also keep the 2013 Music City Bowl win over Georgia Tech but lose the 2012 BBVA Compass Bowl win over Pitt.

From RebelGrove.com:

The Rebels lose the BBVA Compass Bowl win from the 2012 season but keep the 2013 Music City Bowl and Sugar Bowl from the 2015 season. Laremy Tunsil’s NCAA troubles caused the vacated wins from 2013 and 2014. He didn’t participate in the Music City Bowl. Players involved with the ACT violations from the NCAA sanctions were deemed ineligible for 2010, 2011 and 2012. Tunsil sat out seven games in 2015, so no games from that season have to be vacated.

Here is the full list of vacated wins, via RebelGrove.com:

2010: Tulane, Fresno State, Kentucky, ULL
2011: Southern Illinois, Fresno State
2012: Central Arkansas, UTEP, Auburn, Tulane, Arkansas, Mississippi State, Pittsburgh
2013: Vanderbilt, Southeast Missouri, LSU, Texas, Idaho, Arkansas, Troy
2014: Boise State, Vanderbilt, ULL, Memphis, Alabama, Texas A&M, Mississippi State, Tennessee
2016: Wofford, Georgia, Memphis, Georgia Southern, Texas A&M

The 27 vacated wins leave Freeze with an official 12-25 record in Oxford. Nutt’s record drops from 24-26 to 18-26.

The violations that led to Ole Miss wins being vacated

The violations under Houston Nutt arose after it was discovered that two of his assistants “engaged in in fraudulence or misconduct in connection with the ACT exams” in an effort to help prospective football players become eligible. Those players were later deemed ineligible after participating in games in 2010, 2011 and 2012 for the Rebels.

The majority of the NCAA violations came under Freeze, who is now the head coach at Liberty.

The school first received a notice of allegations in January 2016. It detailed an array of improper benefits to football players. In May of that year, the school self-imposed an initial set of sanctions, reducing scholarships and recruiting visits.

The following year, after the infamous Laremy Tunsil draft night drama, the NCAA sent the school an updated notice of allegations that increased the number of violations against the football program from 13 to 21. New violations included boosters paying recruits. At that point, Ole Miss conceded to some of the violations while contesting others and added a bowl ban for the 2017 season to its list of self-imposed sanctions.

In December 2017, the NCAA added an additional year to that bowl ban as part of additional sanctions including three years probation and further reduced scholarships. The NCAA hit Ole Miss with the dreaded “lack of institutional control” charge.

“The University of Mississippi lacked institutional control and fostered an unconstrained culture of booster involvement in football recruiting, according to a Division I Committee on Infractions panel,” an NCAA release said. “Six football staff members and 12 boosters were involved in the violations, which included the provision of approximately $37,000 to prospects through cash payments, the use of automobiles, lodging, transportation, meals and apparel. Two staff members also helped arrange fraudulent standardized test scores for three prospects.”

Ole Miss, in February 2018, filed an appeal. Upon review, the NCAA upheld the bowl ban but the Infractions Appeals Committee overturned a sanction that restricted the number of unofficial recruiting visits. The IAC also kept several appealed charges in place, including “lack of institutional control.”

On the field, Ole Miss soldiered on with Matt Luke as head coach — first as interim and then in the role full-time. The Rebels went 6-6 in 2017 and 5-7 in 2018. The team can return to postseason play in 2019.

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