OXFORD, MS – Ole Miss officials announced Wednesday that the school is self-imposing a one-year bowl ban for the upcoming season to head off an NCAA notice of allegations that accused the school of lack of institutional control and also that Rebels coach Hugh Freeze failed to monitor his coaching staff. Freeze said today that the program must, and will, do better.
“This penalty we’ve imposed on ourselves allows for a chance to hit the reset button and get things pointed back in the right direction,” said Freeze. “Obviously, based on last season’s results, we’re not bending the rules in the right direction. Our cheating is not effective enough. We’re either not paying the right players or not paying them enough. We have to find those answers in the next year because breaking the rules to only go 5-7 is pointless.”
Freeze says Ole Miss will hire a new Non-Compliance Director and will review its “Booster Bucks” payment program in which program boosters give bags of cash to prospective recruits and current players.
“We’re not identifying the right recruits or we’re paying them less than other schools in the conference,” said Freeze. “And for current players, maybe we need to switch to an incentives-based program that rewards them with cash for production on the field. I don’t know. But we’ll fix this. The buck stops with me. Well, literal bucks will continue to go to our players. But I mean it figuratively stops with me.”
Ole Miss chancellor Jeffrey Vitter also announced today that the school is shuttering its Arts department until the football team becomes bowl-eligible again.
“We need to put resources where it matters,” said the chancellor. “I regret not doing this before.”