R.I.P. Ole Miss Football. There are two kinds of SEC programs in this world: those that cheat their asses off, and those that get caught with their hand in the cookie jar. Hugh Freeze and his team now find themselves shamefully in the second category, and that makes them #BumOfTheWeek. But how’d they get here and what happens now?
The NCAA has charged Ole Miss with its ominous “lack of institutional control,” which is a Level 1 violation. This charge causes all programs to poo-poo themselves a bit, because the punishment historically includes post-season bans, scholly losses, and multi-year probation (basically the NCAA equivalent of Cersei Lannister’s “walk of atonement“). As the NCAA itself explains, “Without [institutional control], any college athletics program is not much more than a bunch of kids playing games.” In an effort to get ahead of the 8-ball, Ole Miss has self-imposed a one-year bowl ban, which the NCAA will likely cackle at as they eviscerate what’s left of the Rebs.
So What’d They Do?
Simply put, they illegally bought shit for ‘croots (SEC lingo for “recruits”) — some are calculating as much as $13-15k in straight cash homie from Ole Miss’s boosters. To add insult to injury, some of these ‘croots didn’t even ultimately commit to Ole Miss. There are numerous other violations, like illegal lodging, making of hype videos, impermissible off-campus contact, but the money changing hands remains the big no-no. Side note, how do we think this money exchange went down? I hope it was a super nervous undergraduate team manager (I’m picturing McLovin from Superbad) who bought a black trenchcoat and handed off a duffelbag underneath like the only bridge in Oxford.
But Everyone Does This, Especially in the SEC.
The Ole Miss faithful are barking this now, and I’d be lying if I said y’all are wrong. But y’all are also missing the point. Be glad you were relevant for a few years. You beat Bama. You had a Top 5 recruiting class in 2016. You watched and enjoyed future NFL players, like Laremy Tunsil and Laquon Treadwell. Perhaps most importantly, you experienced an emotional rollercoaster as Tunsil ripped a huge bong hit through a gas mask on NFL draft night:
Though you didn’t make it to the mountaintop, you should have had a damn good time enjoying the ride.
The More You Know (or How Good You Are at Cheating).
In the SEC, though the rules appear to be black and white, you’d better damn well find a way to live in the gray if you want to be competitive. In trying to do so, Ole Miss flew a little too close to the sun.
[banner image from the talented Dan Boyer (@WildKingdumb)]