Ole Miss files appeal to NCAA on its 2018 postseason ban and other penalties
The Rebels aren't going down without a fight
The NCAA tacked on a postseason bowl ban in 2018 to the one that Ole Miss self-imposed for the 2017 season when the Committee on Infractions handed down its ruling on numerous NCAA violations in December 2017. With an opportunity to respond via appeal, the Rebels showed they aren't going down without a fight.
Ole Miss released the details of its appeal on the sanctions on Wednesday afternoon -- nine days after filing it with the NCAA. The school argues that the NCAA's penalties -- specifically the 2018 postseason ban and the limitation on unofficial recruiting visits -- are inconsistent with similar cases in which lack of institutional control was found.
"The COI (Committee on Infractions) abused its discretion, departed from precedent, committed procedural errors, and reached factual conclusions inconsistent with the evidence," the school wrote in its written appeal.
Among the many details cited in the appeal, Ole Miss claims that the second year of a postseason ban unfairly penalizes the football program from a competition perspective and a financial perspective. The school went 6-6 in 2017 and would have been bowl-eligible had the self-imposed penalty not been in place.
"A postseason ban is an extraordinarily severe penalty," the school wrote in its appeal. "And, more importantly, not all postseason bans are created equal. As was explained to the COI at the University's hearing, the imposition of a one-year postseason ban on an institution's football program in the SEC results in a financial penalty of at least $4 million. A second postseason ban year doubles this amount, resulting in a total minimum financial penalty to the University of $8 million."
The school further explains the deep financial impact the payout incurs on the football program by explaining how it fits within the current budget.
"In fact, the actual penalty each year is $8 million, with half of that amount to be returned if, after five years, the University has no more serious NCAA rules violations," the school wrote. "In other words, in terms of cash flow, the $8 million penalty associated with each postseason ban effectively deprives the University of almost half of the football program's $17 million annual budget for two successive years, a total cash flow shortage of $16 million."
According to the Jackson Clarion-Ledger, the NCAA Committee on Infractions has 30 days from the date of submittal (Feb. 5) to file its response, and the school has 14 days from that point to file a rebuttal.
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