Column: Ole Miss receives response from NCAA, appeals process could be over soon

Posted on Apr 27 2018 - 5:50am by Ben Miller

At this point, everyone in the world of college football is thoroughly sick of hearing about Ole Miss’ seemingly eternal appeals process with the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions (COI), and nobody is more sick of this than Rebel fans. Almost every single person who has paid any attention to the process is wishing every moment of every day that it would just be over, or that they would at least be able to understand what is going on.

It has been complicated. It has been long, painstaking and exhausting. And finally, it is ready to be over. Sort of.

There are a plethora of smaller stories that have developed under the umbrella of Ole Miss NCAA sanctions ever since the school was found to have lacked institutional control by allowing numerous infractions under the leadership of Hugh Freeze.

The biggest of these smaller stories still up in the air is Rebel Rags’ defamation lawsuit against Mississippi State players Leo Lewis and Kobe Jones. The interlocutory appeal filed by these players’ lawyers was rejected by a federal judge earlier this month, and it looks like they could be facing some serious trouble either legally or from the NCAA.

Another storyline was tied up once and for all Thursday afternoon when it was announced that another Ole Miss appeal was rejected, making Shea Patterson immediately eligible to compete for the University of Michigan next season after transferring in the fallout of the 2017 season. So that’s done. Great.

The umbrella under which all of this sits is about to be folded up and put away for the history books. It is unclear when, but it will be soon. For some background, Ole Miss filed an appeal to the NCAA’s postseason ban among several other sanctions that were implemented last year. The latest update in this process is that Ole Miss has received the NCAA’s response to the school’s appeal, but they haven’t told anyone what that response is. Or when they’re planning to do that.

What this most likely means is that Ole Miss is waiting for an inopportune time to announce and rapidly execute a press conference to get the minimum possible press coverage of their announcement, whatever it may be. What this also means, most likely, is that the response was not a good one. To be quite blunt, they probably said no.

On the bright side, the worst possible result of this is that nothing changes. The bowl ban stands, the infractions count stands at 21, etc. This has been the plan for a while. The best possible scenario is that they accepted the appeal, Ole Miss can play in the postseason in 2018, and some or all of the infractions appealed have been reversed.

So, as has been the case for the past few months. We wait. But this time, it really might be over. Any result is a good one at this point. It is time to move on and focus on football. Unless Ole Miss decides to appeal. Again.