Tarnished Twenty- The FindLaw Sports Law Blog

NCAA Gives Immunity to Recruits That Said No to Ole Miss

Ole Miss has been under investigation stemming back to before Laremy Tunsil's social media account was hacked, releasing the infamous video of him using a marijuana gas mask-style pipe. Ole Miss already had some recent setbacks due to the NCAA. During the 2015 season, Tunsil sat out for seven games because he accepted prohibited benefits. Another player, Robert Nkemdiche, was suspended from the Sugar Bowl after being charged with possession of marijuana.

Now, according to sources for Yahoo! Sports, the NCAA is investigating Ole Miss's recruiting tactics. The investigation into the Ole Miss football program has expanded beyond the allegations that surfaced surrounding Tunsil. Ole Miss is no stranger to controversy and bad press, and student athletes at rival schools have now been interviewed about the Rebels' recruiting tactics.

Ole Miss Recruiting Tactics Called Into Question

With Ole Miss's history of top ranked recruiting classes and the text messages that were released in April 2015 during the Tunsil social media hack, it makes sense that the NCAA is looking into their recruiting practices. If it is discovered that recruits have been offered any impermissible benefits, Ole Miss could be facing a whole heap of trouble.

As part of the NCAA's effort to encourage the student athletes that were interviewed to speak honestly with investigators, the NCAA offered those students immunity from any sanctions. Under the NCAA's rules, universities may not offer recruits anything beyond scholarships, and there are very strict rules as to what is and isn't permissible when it comes to recruiting student athletes.

During Tunsil's time as a student athlete, he was loaned multiple vehicles for free, provided an interest free loan for a few thousand dollars, and a free airplane ticket, among other benefits that the NCAA deems impermissible. Under the rules for student athletes, providing any benefit to student athletes that could be construed as income is prohibited.

Immunity for Honest Interviews

The NCAA has, in the past, offered immunity from sanctions in exchange for testimony against certain individuals. Ole Miss knows this well as a former Southern Miss assistant coach was granted immunity to testify against the Southern Miss head coach.

Ole Miss started out strong on their Labor Day opener, racking up a 22 point lead. However, after being plagued with turnover problems and injuries, that lead quickly dwindled against the Florida State Seminoles after they put up over 30 points in the last half.

Despite the scandals, investigation, and injuries, it's clear Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze saw what happened against FSU and plans to push his team forward.

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