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Report: Ole Miss Receives Two-Year Bowl Ban, Former Coaches Get Show-Cause Penalties

Ole Miss has been handed a two-year bowl ban, multiple scholarship restrictions and a fine for multiple NCAA infractions, reports Chuck Rounsaville of Ole Miss Spirit. Additionally, every coach named in the NCAA investigation has been hit with show-cause penalties of varying lengths, meaning each will be forbidden from coaching for a denoted period of time. 

Per SBNation, former assistant David Saunders’ show-cause runs for eight years. Former staffer Barney Farrar faces five. Current head coach Matt Luke, who took over when Hugh Freeze resigned shortly before this season, is not included in the penalties as he was not named in the investigation.

Freeze himself received a one-year head coaching restriction but not a show-clause penalty, per ESPN's Mark Schlabach. If Freeze accepts a head coaching position before next season, he will be suspended for two games, but he will not face discipline if he serves as an assistant coach next year. 

The program's self-enforced bowl ban for this season will count toward the two-year ban, meaning this penalty will only keep the Rebels out of a bowl for one more season. However, according to Schlabach, Ole Miss officials will appeal the 2018 postseason ban. 

A source told Rounsaville that the NCAA Committee on Infractions has also put the program on probation for four years, docked 13 scholarships and levied a $179,000 fine. The penalties are a result of a five-year investigation into the Ole Miss program, which was then led by Freeze.

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The Rebels’ football program faced 21 allegations, including 15 Level I violations, the most serious offenses. The program is accused of academic fraud, making payments for prospective recruits and improper contact with a prospect.

Earlier this year, the NCAA sent the school a new notice of allegations, accusing Ole Miss of a lack of institutional control and that former head football coach Hugh Freeze failed to monitor his staff.

During a Committee on Infractions hearing in September, the school contested nine of those violations, especially the lack of institutional control charge. Ole Miss athletic director Ross Bjork said in February that the lack of institutional control charge was “not appropriately supported.”

The new notice prompted Ole Miss to institute a self-imposed ban from playing in a bowl game this year. Other self–imposed punishments included three years of probation, numerous scholarship losses and recruiting restrictions.

Freeze resigned a month before this season started after officials said that he engaged in “a pattern of personal misconduct inconsistent with the standards we expect from the leader of our football team.” It was later revealed that Freeze made phone calls to numbers attributed to female escort service from his school-issued phone.

Co-offensive coordinator Matt Luke took over on an interim basis and led the Rebels to a 6–6 record. He was later hired as the head football coach.