The University of Mississippi is recognizing that the violations against its football program, which include multiple, intentional acts of misconduct by employees and boosters, are serious, according to the university’s response to the NCAA’s Notice of Allegations released Tuesday.
These violations, which include multiple, intentional acts of misconduct by (now former) University employees and (now disassociated) boosters, are serious. As described in this response, the University has held those responsible accountable – many in unprecedented, public ways – and has taken institutional responsibility for what has occurred. The University firmly believes its bold corrective actions will make a meaningful and permanent difference.
Of the 21 violations Ole Miss plans to deny, four are Level I violations, the highest level the NCAA charges. Those four Level I allegations are against former Ole Miss Football staffer Barney Farrar, a person directly involved with case told 44News Sports Director JoJo Gentry last week.
“I disagree with the language that was used to describe Coach Farrar and what he did, or did not, do,” Farrar’s laywer, Bruse Loyd of Jones, Gillaspia & Loyd LLP, said of the university’s response. “I thought it confirmed what I have suspected since I began representing Barney. That is Barney was set aside and chosen to be the one to be blamed.”
The response by Ole Miss states all but three Level I allegations were the result of intentional misconduct specifically intended to avoid monitoring systems implemented by the school.
The Level I allegations against Farrar are as follows, according to a source:
- Providing lodging and transportation to Ole Miss Football recruits worth $2,200, and meals worth $235
- Providing false information knowingly about recruiting violations when asked by the NCAA and Ole Miss Football
- Boosters contacting one athlete committed to another NCAA football program, and allowed a cash payment(s) to that athlete worth $13-15,000
- Distributing athletic gear, courtesy of a company owned by an Ole Miss booster, to recruits
However, Farrar’s and Ole Miss head football coach Hugh Freeze’s responses were not included in the university’s brief Tuesday, which Loyd told Gentry on Monday was a lingering uncertainty. It is not known at this time whether Farrar’s and Freeze’s responses will be released publicly.
“If you don’t have their briefs, then you just don’t have the complete story,” Loyd said. “It could be that no one ever gets to hear, or know, what Coach Freeze or Coach Farrar said.”
Loyd told Gentry he will not comment on the content of Farrar’s response to the NCAA’s Notice of Allegations.
The university has self-imposed a post-season ban for the 2017 football season, decreased the amount of time coaches can visit high schools and their athletic events by 10 percent in each of the next two years, and reduced its number of official visits by 20 percent.
“I think Mississippi has been punished enough by what they’ve done,” Loyd said. “I don’t think any further punishment is warranted.”
In addition to the four Level I violations against Farrar, Ole Miss and other staff have been charged with 17 other charges, including loss of institutional control.
However, Ole Miss states in its response that the university disagrees with the enforcement staff’s interpretation of the evidence, and argues Freeze adequately monitored allegations surrounding the football program and responded with “swift action”.
“I’m now where Barney was. I’m on an island. And I’m happy to be there,” Loyd said. “We’ll see through this together and see how it comes out on the other side.”
The NCAA has not responded to 44News’ request for comment on this story.