Ole Miss Announces Self-Imposed Penalties for Football, Women's Basketball Teams

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured Columnist

FILE - In this Oct. 19, 2013, file photo, Mississippi football coach Hugh Freeze leads his team to the field prior to their NCAA college football game against LSU  in Oxford, Miss. Mississippi has aspirations of competing for SEC titles. No. 11 Ole Miss (4-0, 1-0) plays No. 3 Alabama (4-0, 1-0) on Saturday, Oct. 4, 2014,  in its biggest home game in more than a decade.  (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)
Rogelio V. Solis/Associated Press

The University of Mississippi self-imposed penalties on its football and women's basketball teams on May 27 in relation to an NCAA notice of allegations.

According to ESPN.com's Mark Schlabach, Ole Miss reduced "double-digit" scholarships in football and enacted a postseason ban against the women's basketball team.

Per Schlabach, the university also announced in a report "the termination of four coaches, including the only two involved head coaches still employed when the violations were discovered [and] the disassociation of every involved booster."

On Monday, Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze accepted responsibility for the program's recent issues, per ESPN.com's Chris Low:

The first thing I would say is that I own it. That's part of it when you're the head coach. You take the good with the bad. But there's a big difference between making mistakes in recruiting and going out there with the intent to cheat. I don't have any information that anybody on my staff has been involved in any illegal payments to players or offering any inducements to players, and if I did have that information, I would fire them. ...

Have we made mistakes in recruiting? Yes, and we've taken steps to make sure we don't make those same mistakes again. But to say me or anybody on my staff is out there cheating to gain advantage just isn't true.

As Pat Forde of Yahoo Sports first reported in January, the school was charged with around 30 violations, although the notice of allegations wasn't officially released until Friday.

While names were redacted throughout the document, the receipt of improper benefits from Ole Miss football players was among the listed violations.

Prior to the NFL draft, former Ole Miss offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil's social media accounts were hacked, and an apparent conversation with assistant athletic director John Miller regarding rent money was posted on Instagram.

Tunsil was suspended seven games for receiving improper benefits last season, and after the draft he admitted taking money from a coach, per Schlabach.

In its report, Ole Miss explained why it hadn't also banned its football team from the postseason:

"Although a postseason ban may be imposed in a Level I—Mitigated case, the University believes a ban is unnecessary here based upon applicable precedent and because the most serious allegations occurred years ago, involving staff and student‐athletes long‐since separated from the University," it read.

The Rebels are coming off a 10-3 season and have a legitimate chance to contend for a College Football Playoff spot with the return of quarterback Chad Kelly.

Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter.

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