Ole Miss

NCAA issues Ole Miss notice of allegations

BRUCE NEWMAN/OXFORD EAGLE 
 Ole Miss Athletics Director Ross Bjork released a statement Friday regarding allegations against his sports department. Yahoo! Sports reported Friday the NCAA has issued a notice of allegations involving women's basketball, track and field and football.
BRUCE NEWMAN/OXFORD EAGLE Ole Miss Athletics Director Ross Bjork released a statement Friday regarding allegations against his sports department. Yahoo! Sports reported Friday the NCAA has issued a notice of allegations involving women's basketball, track and field and football. AP

Ole Miss has received a Notice of Allegations from the NCAA's enforcement staff alleging "roughly 30 violations" in football, women's basketball and track and field, according to a report Friday by Yahoo! Sports' Pat Forde.

It's unclear how the allegations break down per sport or the severity. Forde previously reported that the bulk of the potential violations related to the women's basketball program, which fired Adrian Wiggins and two of his assistants in 2012 before the coach had an opportunity to make his official debut courtside.

"The source said the current football staff of head coach Hugh Freeze is not believed to be implicated in any major violations, and that much of the football inquiry dates back to actions by a previous Ole Miss staff," Forde wrote in October 2014.

Through a school spokesman, Ole Miss athletic director Ross Bjork issued the following statement Friday: "As has been the case for the past three years, we are bound by confidentiality and cannot comment publicly on the matter. However, I can say that I'm confident in how our coaches and staff operate our program, and we take compliance, NCAA and SEC rules very seriously. We are working hard to seek a resolution to this matter."

During the 2015 football season, Ole Miss' football program did come under fire by the NCAA and star left tackle Laremy Tunsil was suspended for seven games for accepting impermissible benefits.

Forde also lists the suspension of star defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche, who sat for the Sugar Bowl -- and subsequently declared for the NFL draft -- after falling out of a hotel window in Atlanta during the winter break.

Nkemdiche was charged with possession of marijuana after he broke a double-paned hotel room window, walked about 15 feet, climbed over a wall and fell 15 feet, according to police.

Former Mississippi State quarterback Matt Wyatt, who co-hosts the daily Head-to-Head radio show, tweeted the football violations are tied to former Ole Miss assistant coach David Saunders, who coached in Oxford from 1999-2002, 2006 and 2010.

Saunders, currently at Pearl River Community College, was at the center of a lengthy investigation stemming from his time at Louisiana-Lafayette.

The NCAA handed Saunders an eight-year show-cause order due to serious NCAA rules violations, including arranging fraudulent college entrance exam scores for five prospects.

The NCAA announced its punishment on Tuesday, saying that Saunders denied his involvement in the infractions and failed to cooperate in its investigation.

"We're aware of the situation," PRCC spokesman Chuck Abadie said earlier this month. "We feel like we made a great hire and he will be a great leader for our football program."

Ole Miss has 90 days to respond to the allegations before the process can move forward.

Forde's report comes less than a week before National Signing Day.

Ole Miss has not replied to a request for comment.

Patrick Magee, a Sun Herald reporter, contributed to this report.

  Comments