How a transfer and concert venue marquee led to an NCAA violation for Ole Miss football

Nick Suss
Mississippi Clarion Ledger

OXFORD − A mishap with a concert venue and an impermissible car ride led to Ole Miss football self-reporting NCAA compliance violations in the first half of 2022.

Between Jan. 1, 2022 and July 1, 2022, Ole Miss athletics self-reported four compliance violations, all of which were Level III infractions — the least egregious level on the NCAA infractions scale.

Two came from the football program and two came from men's basketball. Level III infractions are defined by the NCAA as "isolated or limited in nature" and "provide minimal recruiting, competitive or other advantages." The Clarion Ledger obtained these documents as part of a Gannett/USA TODAY directive.

The most minor violation came as a result of a local concert venue posting messages on its marquee and its social media accounts trying to recruit a transfer to join the Rebels. Since the venue is considered a booster, this is a violation of NCAA recruiting rules which prohibit singling out or naming unsigned recruits.

Ole Miss' compliance staff reached out to the venue to ask the messages to be taken down and the venue received NCAA compliance training. No further punishments were handed out.

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The other violation, which was reported in May, came when an unnamed football coach drove recruits somewhere in a vehicle "that was not a personal vehicle and not an institutionally owned vehicle." The coach was prohibited from in-person contact with recruits for 14 days and prohibited from all recruiting activity, in person or otherwise, for seven days. He also received rules training.

The men's basketball team reported two violations in May as well. In the first, a booster "indirectly provided" premium area seats for a game at The Pavilion to an assistant coach at a two-year college. In the second, a men's basketball coach gave tickets from his personal allotment to current and former junior college coaches for games spread across November and December of 2021.

For both violations, the NCAA's only punishment was rules training for Ole Miss' coaches, off-court staff and donors.

The two football violations are the first Ole Miss had self-reported since July 2020. Men's basketball had not self-reported a violation since before December 2019.

Ole Miss football opens the 2022 season on Saturday from Vaught-Hemingway Stadium versus Troy (3 p.m., SEC Network).

Nick Suss is the Clarion Ledger's Ole Miss athletics beat reporter. Contact Nick at nsuss@gannett.com. Follow Nick on Twitter @nicksuss.