The Ole Miss athletic department was notified by the NCAA that junior offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil is set to return to competition on Oct. 24 against Texas A&M after being given a seven-game suspension.
Tunsil was under NCAA investigation for allegedly accepting impermissible benefits after allegations made by his mother’s estranged husband, Lindsey Miller, which followed a June incident in which Tunsil and Miller were involved in an altercation that prompted police involvement.
Tunsil ultimately sat out the Rebels’ first six games and will miss one more before returning.
An ESPN report indicated the “sticking point” that kept Tunsil sidelined for Ole Miss’s first two games was a loaner vehicle he received from an Oxford, Miss., dealership while his car was being repaired. Tunsil allegedly kept the loaner vehicle for an “extended” period of time before returning it, long enough to indicate acceptance of an extra benefit under NCAA rules.
The NCAA determined that Tunsil was not completely forthcoming with initial questioning by NCAA investigators regarding the loaner vehicles. He later corrected his account of the events and issued an apology.
Tunsil issued the following statement:
"I take full responsibility for the mistakes I made and want to thank everyone for their continued support. I want to apologize to my teammates, coaches and the entire Ole Miss family for how my choices affected our program. This was a learning experience, and I'm looking forward to being back on the field with my team and redeeming myself. The last 10 months have been a physical and mental battle for me, but I love playing this game more than anything else. I want to be here for my teammates who are depending on me to finish what we started together."
In addition to his seven game suspension, Tunsil is required to pay the value of the extra benefits to a charity and perform community service, and he will also make the vehicle down payment.
Tunsil has started since his freshman season of 2013 and was named first-team All-SEC by the Associated Press in 2014.
Ole Miss is 5–1 and ranked No. 13 in the AP poll ahead of hitting the road for a game against Memphis on Saturday.
- Christopher Chavez