NCAA
Adam Rittenberg, ESPN Staff Writer 431d

NCAA finds violations for Ole Miss track, women's basketball; football waits

Women's College Basketball, College Football, Mississippi Rebels

The NCAA's infractions committee announced violations in the Ole Miss women's basketball and track and field programs Friday; an investigation into the school's football program remains ongoing.

The infractions committee separated the Ole Miss football investigation from the overall probe to expedite rulings on violations in the other two sports.

The committee found academic fraud violations involving a former Ole Miss assistant women's basketball coach, a former basketball director of operations and two former women's basketball players. A former Ole Miss track coach and assistant track coach were found to have provided false information during the NCAA's investigation into impermissible recruiting tryouts and contacts.

The NCAA added three years' probation and show-cause orders for several individuals to Ole Miss' self-imposed penalties for both programs, which included recruiting restrictions for both and scholarship reductions and a postseason ban for women's basketball.

The infractions committee decided earlier this year to separate the football investigation when new allegations surfaced at the NFL draft surrounding former Ole Miss offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil. The committee won't review any information related to the football program until the university and NCAA enforcement staff complete their investigation. Ole Miss' football program faces allegations of 13 NCAA violations, including eight determined to be Level I, the most serious. Nine of the 13 alleged violations occurred under current coach Hugh Freeze, including four Level I violations.

"When both the university and enforcement staff informed the panel that they needed more time to further investigate the potential allegations in the football program after the enforcement staff delivered its notice of allegations, the panel separated this case to be fair to the university and the involved individuals in the women's basketball and track programs," said Xavier athletic director Greg Christopher, the chief hearing officer for the infractions committee.

Ole Miss in May self-imposed the loss of 11 football scholarships during a four-year period from 2015 to 2018, including a reduction of three initial scholarships in each of its next three recruiting classes. The school previously self-imposed reductions in unofficial visits and off-campus evaluation days for its football coaches.

"We regret the violations of NCAA bylaws in both programs and have taken several steps to prevent future violations," Ole Miss president Jeffrey Vitter said in a statement. "One of my first acts as chancellor was to seek a comprehensive external review of our athletics compliance function. The review was recently completed and has confirmed to me that our compliance systems are robust while offering recommendations for areas where we can and will improve."

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