The NCAA appears to be making a stand on this one. After losing time and time again in high profile cases (see Auburn 2010) and lower profile cases (see Alabama every year since 2008) against SEC schools and cases they should have never gotten involved in ( see Penn State 2012) the NCAA handled this investigation patiently. Time will tell how capable they are at punishing programs still, but Ole Miss is the kind of program that gets punished, so that the Alabama and Auburn’s of the world can continue unimpeded.
The immunity for multiple players at different schools is a huge deal. These players can essentially speak freely now about what went on without compromising their futures. If there is any truth to these rumors Ole Miss should be very worried. Which brings us to….
Ole Miss should be very worried. A loss of one postseason (or $8 million) and double digit scholarships is about the strongest rebuke any University is likely to self impose. That it happened at all suggests that Ole Miss doesn’t like their chances against the NCAA’s infractions committee.
A show cause penalty against Hugh Freeze and any staff members would be a huge deal. Chip Kelly got a show cause penalty as did Jim Tressel. Neither has returned to college football. Nor did John Blake, the only other Head Football Coach to have received one*.
Ole Miss is trying to take down Mississippi State as well. The news that Ole Miss had an audio recording of a prospect’s mother asking for money and claiming that Mississippi State (among other programs that were not named) had paid upwards of $10,000, and that they had supplied that tape to the SEC, and that, as of now, the SEC has not acted on that knowledge, suggests that the Rebels might be trying to force/coaxe the Conference into protecting them at the cost of saving their fellow conference mates. This seems unlikely to work as 1) no fan base in the SEC cares if their own school cheats 2) giving up Ole Miss and promising to crack down on other members would benefit the SEC and help the NCAA get a much needed win this case and 3) even though there is no honor amongst thieves, Ole Miss’s decision to bring Mississippi State’s name into this mess will not engender it to the rest of the Conference schools.
I wonder if the NCAA isn't willing to risk everything in order to win this case. Like, blow it all up, scorched earth, forget about the consequences, win at all costs. The non power 5 conference members should certainly be pushing for that. The NCAA is very close to being obsolete. Winning a case like this will generate some confidence in the organization.
Apparently God doesn’t protect cheaters.
Even devout ones like Hugh Freeze.
* Blake was the defensive line coach at North Carolina when he received the show cause penalty, although he had previously served as the Head Coach at Oklahoma.