Ole Miss has formally appealed its 2018 bowl ban to the NCAA, with the university suggesting that the NCAA's committee on infractions "abused its discretion, departed from precedent, committed procedural errors, and reached fatal conclusions inconsistent with the evidence."
In December, the NCAA handed to penalties to the program for a lack of institutional control that allowed boosters to have inappropriate involvement in recruiting. The punishment included a two-year bowl ban (including for the 2017 season, which Ole Miss had already self-imposed), multiple show-cause penalties for individuals, a self-imposed reduction in scholarships, multiple restrictions on recruiting practices and an order to vacate all wins in which ineligible players participated. According to the NCAA, six program officials and 12 boosters were involved in the violations, which included the funneling of roughly $37,000 to recruits via multiple methods.
Shortly after the punishment was levied, the university said it would vigorously appeal the punishments that went further than the program's self-imposed ones.
The university's complaint details four grievances it has with the NCAA's ruling. First, the university says the imposing of the 2018 postseason ban is predicated on an "erroneous assessment" of Ole Miss' recent history of compliance. Ole Miss also states that a three-year restriction on unofficial visits is six times the recommended punishment from the NCAA penalty matrix guidelines. Third, the university suggests there was not the lack of institutional control cited in the punishment. Lastly, the appeal disputes the NCAA's finding that a privately owned retail store provided free merchandise to recruits.
The full text of the appeal can be seen here.
Hugh Freeze, who was head coach during the alleged infractions, resigned after it became public that he made at least 12 calls to escorts on various trips. Matt Luke was named interim head coach and had the interim tag removed after guiding the Rebels to a 6-6 season.