The Ole Miss football program will vacate 33 victories over six seasons for running afoul of myriad NCAA rules which led to fielding ineligible players, school athletic director Ross Bjork said Monday night.
Former coach Hugh Freeze – under whom Ole Miss was accused of the majority of 15 Level I violations – takes the biggest hit in vacated victories at 27, but his predecessor, Houston Nutt, also loses six victories from the 2010-11 seasons.
“It’s the last part of this process,” Bjork said at a townhall meeting in Cleveland, Miss., according to reports. “In a way it’s just a piece of paper because you saw those games.”
The NCAA accused Ole Miss of 21 violations in all, including lack of institutional control and “an unconstrained culture of booster involvement in football recruiting.”
In all, the program will vacate four wins from 2010, two from 2011, seven from 2012, seven from 2013, eight from 2014 – including a win over Alabama – and five from 2016.
Benefits and academic violations
Current Miami Dolphins offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil was one of those players declared ineligible over impermissible benefits, resulting in the vacated victories from 2013 and 2014. He was suspended by the NCAA for the first seven games of the 2015 season while his eligibility was reviewed.
Multiple players were deemed ineligible for the 2010-12 seasons for academic violations, resulting in those victories being vacated.
Vacating wins was the culmination of an infractions case against the school that was completed in December 2017.
Ole Miss served a two-year postseason ban in 2017 and 2018 and was given three years of probation, through 2020, and was hit with 11 scholarship reductions over a four-year period.
Freeze, who resigned in July 2017 and is now the head coach at Liberty, was contrite about his wrongdoing in a speech at Liberty last year.
“I had to say to people that I loved, ‘I am sorry. Please forgive me,'” Freeze said in a January convocation speech. “And today is really the first day I can tell the faith family, ‘I am sorry. Please forgive me.'”
–Field Level Media