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Analyzing the super serious* NCAA infractions that Ole Miss self reported

*Actually, they're really dumb.

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Over the weekend, the Enemy of the Cup and Clarion-Ledger Ole Miss beat writer Daniel A. Paulling released a list of self-reported, secondary NCAA violations committed by Ole Miss coaches and student athletes over the past year. The highlight of the violations involves a player keeping a loaner car—a used Chevy Impala, mind you—for a bit too long due to what is reported as being a misunderstanding of the dealer's loaner car policy.

The story goes that the unnamed football player took his car to a local dealer for repairs. The dealership provided a loaner car to the player that he could use while repairs were being made. This practice isn't uncommon, and the loaner car provided was consistent with dealer policies, so no NCAA harm done. However, the trouble came when the player tried to return it three months later after the dealership completed repairs to his personal vehicle.

After the repairs were made, [name redacted] attempted to return the loaner vehicle to the dealership but claims he was informed by the dealership that a loaner car return could only be made by the individual who had arranged the loaner...

On or about July 7th, [name redacted] paid the local dealership for the repairs and [name redacted's] car was subsequently returned to him for use. After speaking to the dealership post-payment, [name redacted] was under the belief that the dealership would be picking up the loaner vehicle from [name redacted's] apartment. That did not occur. [Name redacted] subsequently remained in possession of the Impala until August 10th.

The player did use the car for a month or so, even after his personal car had been returned to him. The player had to give just north of $150 to a charity of his choice and perform 21 hours of community service to make amends for such an egregious infraction.

But that's not all!

Just as with this one, the remaining violations in the Clarion-Ledger report, which the publication obtained by an open records request, aren't particularly revealing or damning. More importantly to Ole Miss fans, they are far from making up the smoking gun that a lot of Ole Miss' detractors are hoping exists to prove that Ole Miss did something terrible like compensate an otherwise unpaid athlete for his or her work. They are, however, mildly amusing and a perfect way to explore just how particular, needless, and overly clunky NCAA rules and oversight are.

Here, per the Clarion-Ledger, are those violations, which we've annotated with our commentary. When reading these, remember that the NCAA's reasoning behind considering these actions as "violations" is that student athletes are amateurs, and therefore should not be provided any sort of compensation or benefit (scholarships aside, because they're students) that would suggest that they are anything other than volunteer warrior poets. Also, keep in mind that there are actual members of our advanced, industrialized human society who earn more than a living wage to track, report on, and make important decisions regarding the acts you are about to read. This is because the work done by the NCAA is very important and valuable.

Violation occurred: 10/20/2014
Sport: Softball
Violation type: Recruiting
Summary: Softball coach Mike Smith sent two impermissible text messages to a 2017 recruit before Sept. 1 of her junior year of high school. He received text messages containing the schedule for a travel softball team he wanted to watch from a number he didn't have saved in his phone and responded twice by saying "thank you." The number belonged to the recruit.
Institutional action: Ole Miss "imposed the SEC minimum penalty for impermissible text messages and prohibited [name redacted] from having telephone contact with any prospective student-athletes for a period of 14 days (July 27-August 9)." The entire softball coaching staff also wasn't allowed to make telephone contact with, send recruiting material to or send electronic transmissions to the recruit for the month of September.

A recruit sent a schedule to a coach, the coach thanked the recruit for the message, and was in the wrong for having done so.

I get that there are rules in place for when a coach can contact a recruit. I also get that, to an extent, some limitations here are a good way to keep coaches from bugging the shit out of high school kids who have other things to worry about. But to what extent are these types of rules at all promoting the amateurism that the NCAA wants to promote? What harm is there in a high school softball player - voluntarily or otherwise - sharing her traveling team schedule with a college coach she may want to have watching her play? How does that blur the lines between amateurism and not-amateurism (that is, professionalism)? How is it a valuable use of time and resources to even give a damn about something so trivial?

Violation occurred: 2/10/2015, 2/18/2015 and 6/29/2015
Sport: Football
Violation type: Recruiting
Summary: Ole Miss football coaches committed several pocket dials to recruits as described in three separate self-reports.
Institutional action: Ole Miss has continued to provide the football coaching staff with rules education and stressed all coaches to "lock" their iPhones to prevent this from happening.

SCENE: Ole Miss Crootin' War Room, 2015

COACH 1, deliberately and loudly: "I sure do like the hands on that A.J. Brown kid out of Starkville. He sure reminds me a lot of Laquon Treadwell.

COACH 2, deliberately and loudly: "Yes, Laquon Treadwell, the best wide receiver in the Southeastern Conference! The one who plays for the Ole Miss Rebels and is likely to be the first wide receiver taken in the 2016 NFL Draft! That Laquon Treadwell, who is an excellent wide receiver, can be compared to this A.J. Brown guy."

COACH 1: "Yes! Indeed he can! Wide receivers who are tall, physical, and have good hands are always welcome at Ole Miss! With Chad Kelly returning and Shea Patterson enrolling early, a receiver like A.J. Brown, were he to sign with Ole Miss, could have a career as prolific as Treadwell's!"

COACH 2: "Oh, of course! But I feel he could make his own mark in Oxford! He is good enough to eschew such comparisons!"

COACH 1: "No doubt! Either way, he'd be a fast fan favorite here at Ole Miss, if he were to sign with us, that is."

AJ BROWN, faintly over the speaker of an iPhone in COACH 1's front pocket: "Hello? Uh... thanks? Okay, I gotta go now." /hangs up


Violation occurred: 3/13/2015
Sport: Volleyball
Violation type: Recruiting
Summary: An assistant volleyball coach made an inadvertent phone call to a 2017 recruit prior to September 1 of the recruit's junior year. The pocket dial lasted less than one minute.
Institutional action: Ole Miss wrote in its report that it would "continue to stress to its staff to ‘lock' their iPhones before putting them in their pockets to avoid accidental calls."

SCENE: Something similar to the one above but much less interesting

Violation occurred: 4/4/2015
Sport: Men's Golf
Violation type: Recruiting
Summary: A person associated with the men's golf team made an inadvertent phone call to a 2017 recruit prior to September 1 of the recruit's junior year. The pocket dial occurred because the recruit had recently called the person, and the call lasted less than one minute.
Institutional action: Ole Miss requested relief from SEC minimum penalty, which was granted, and stated in its report that it would "continue to stress to its staff to ‘lock' their iPhones before putting them in their pockets to avoid accidental calls."

Okay, y'all get it. We're out here "accidentally" calling people when we shouldn't. How dare us, TSUN Cheatin' Bears, Ole Miss should be razed, etc.

Violation occurred: 4/27/2015
Sport: Football
Violation type: Amateurism
Summary: A football player who became "essentially homeless" following an eviction from his apartment spent approximately 18 nights at a house where a teammate's girlfriend lived. The player had been evicted from his apartment after spring workouts last year because he was caring for the teammate's dog, though pets weren't allowed at his apartment complex.
Institutional action: Ole Miss forced the player to repay the value of the benefit ($270) to a charity and provided rules education to the player who committed the violation.

Did you know that if you're an "amateur" in any sense of the word, you cannot be the beneficiary of human decency? This is why I ask all buskers and beggars if they're professionals, because I don't want to be in violation of this very important social contract.

Violation occurred: 5/18/2015
Sport: Men's basketball
Violation type: Financial aid
Summary: An assistant men's basketball coach paid an application fee for a transfer student, which was a violation. This came after someone referred to as "Abernethy," presumably assistant coach Todd Abernethy, permissibly paid for official transcripts and GRE scores for the athlete to be sent to the graduate school after he signed his Southeastern Conference and Ole Miss financial aid agreements.
Institutional action: The athlete repaid the value of the benefit to a charity. Furthermore, rules education was provided and a letter of admonishment was sent to a person whose name was redacted.

Remember in the bygone era of SEC basketball divisions when a basketball team that featured Todd Abernethy at point guard won the SEC West? I do. I think Todd Abernethy can do whatever he wants.

Violation occurred: 5/24/2015
Sport: Men's track, outdoor
Violation type: Awards and benefits
Summary: Members of the men's outdoor track team were provided with vacation period per diem because they were being allowed to stay on campus through May 24, the day before the team would leave for the NCAA east preliminary. However, two members learned they didn't qualify for the meet and left campus before May 24 but still received meal and housing per diem through May 24.
Institutional action: Each affected athlete made a donation to a non-profit organization for the amount he received but shouldn't have, one for $35 and the other for $50.

Two people received a total of $85 worth of "benefits" due to a bureaucratic slipup. This is very important stuff that the NCAA needs to know about in order to maintain the sacred purity of college amateurism.

Violation occurred: 7/9/2015
Sport: Football
Violation type: Recruiting
Summary: A football recruit projected to qualify enrolled at Ole Miss last summer and began receiving financial aid. However, the recruit incorrectly entered one subscore of his ACT, which he took multiple times in order to qualify and was instead two points shy of qualifying status. An Ole Miss worker didn't catch the recruit's error, and the violation was discovered when the NCAA Eligibility Center certified the recruit as a non-qualifier.
Institutional action: The recruit repaid a pro-rated amount of his Summer II financial aid and withdrew from courses. He completed an additional 0.5 credits of core courses to raise his GPA and was certified as a qualifier 20 days later. In an effort to combat future such mistakes, Ole Miss created checklists to review recruits whose academics are close to the minimum required to qualify.

While I admire this croot's fudgin' the paperwork game, I do posit that maybe he should be a non-qualifier for thinking that would actually work. (LOL j/k I don't actually think that. Glad you're on our team, whoever you are.)

Violation occurred: 8/21/2015
Sport: Football
Violation type: Amateurism
Summary: Photos of a football player appeared on social media postings belonging to a for-profit company called Timeless Generation owned by his brother and two friends. The player wasn't compensated and the fact he played football at Ole Miss wasn't highlighted in the postings.
Institutional action: Ole Miss issued a cease and desist to the company and provided rules education to the player involved.

Quick, one of y'all needs to start a vaguely named LLC and use it as a vehicle for annoying, time-wasting secondary violations reports at other SEC schools. Start a Facebook page for this company (don't worry about what it is that your company "does" to "make money" because that's not important here) and post photos of athletes from other SEC schools on it. Say you're their best friend or some shit.

"This here is Leonard Founette! He loves Fearless Machination LLC and fully endorses our products! GEAUX TIGERS!"

Of course, Ole Miss doesn't need to snitch on LSU to, y'know, beat them in football, so maybe you shouldn't even waste your time.

Violation occurred: 9/8/2015
Sport: Men's golf
Violation type: Athletics personnel
Summary: An outside consultant provided a two-hour presentation, which normally lasts five hours, regarding something the consultant invented that combines shot distribution patterns and PGA Tour scoring statistics. The coaching staff thought this would be permissible because it didn't involve any single athlete being coached.
Institutional action: Ole Miss provided rules education to the coaching staff.

The best part about this is that the consultant totally billed these hours to his firm, probably sold it as "business development" or something just as vague, and might have even collected a per diem to spend on a day or two in Oxford.

And, no, I still don't understand what exactly was violated here. Is having to sit through a two-hour Power Point presentation a "benefit" of some sort?

Violation occurred: 9/11/2015
Sport: Softball
Violation type: Recruiting
Summary: Siblings of two recruits on official visits, two siblings total, were allowed to eat two meals apiece for free when they should've each been charged $49.05.
Institutional action: Ole Miss declared both recruits ineligible until proof each one has paid $49.05 apiece to a charity of her choice.

This is wholly unacceptable.

You're going to tell me that we Mississippians, who call "The Hospitality State" our home, can't feed a visitor and said visitor's family? We're all family 'round here, we take care of our own, and these hushpuppies ain't exactly gonna eat themselves are they? And to have the gall to tell us we violated any sort of wholly American thing on September 11th?! I can't even fathom how horrible you are, NCAA.

Violation occurred: 9/11/2015
Sport: Volleyball
Violation type: Awards and benefits
Summary: The volleyball team received a permissible post-game meal on campus that several parents attended. Each parent paid $10, though the per person cost of the meal was $12.87.
Institutional action: One player paid $2.87 to cover one of her parents attending, while another who had two parents attend had to pay $5.74 to cover the difference. Both payments went to a charity of the athletes' choice.

Two. Dollars. Eighty. Seven. Cents.

I'm sure whatever charity received that was fucking thrilled. "Oh, great, we can get 40% of a Subway sandwich now. The orphans and widows of north Mississippi will surely appreciate that..."

Violation occurred: 9/25/2015
Sport: Football
Violation type: Awards and benefits
Summary: The father of a football player ate a meal at the alumni association's annual athletic letter winner hall of fame induction dinner but didn't pay the cost of $50.
Institutional action: The football player paid the amount to a charity of his choice.

Oh so now it's our fault that there are freeloading dads asking for a meal that we're too polite to turn away?

This is some Lindsey Miller shit all over again, ain't it?

Violation occurred: 10/3/2015
Sport: Softball
Violation type: Recruiting
Summary: A softball commit tweeted "are you ready" in reference to the Ole Miss football team's game against Florida last fall, and a softball coach replied to the tweet by saying "HYDR."
Institutional action: The coach wasn't allowed to recruit off-campus from Oct. 5 to Nov. 3 (30 days), and the softball coaching staff wasn't allowed to have any in-person contact with the recruit from Oct. 5 to Jan. 2 (90 days).

We forbade a coach from speaking to a recruit for three months because that coach tweeted four letters. Justice served!

Violation occurred: 10/8/2015
Sport: Women's basketball
Violation type: Recruiting
Summary: Ole Miss paid for a recruit to receive transportation to an airport in Fort Lauderdale in a "standard vehicle," which is permissible for an official visit, but the recruit was picked up in a limousine because no other vehicles were available. The staff learned of this via SnapChat.
Institutional action: The staff contacted the compliance office and then attempted to ensure the recruit would receive a ride home from the airport to her home following the official visit in a "standard vehicle," as allowed by NCAA rules.

Define "standard" here, because for Ole Mi$$ Cheatin' Bears crootin', our standards are a little higher.

Violation occurred: 10/9/2015
Sport: Men's basketball
Violation type: Awards and benefits
Summary: The girlfriend of a men's basketball player stayed with a booster for three nights before a football game last October because the booster and player thought it would be fine because neither the player nor his family was receiving housing. The girlfriend stayed in a hotel room belonging to the player's family after the violation was discovered.
Institutional action: The player donated $75 to a local charity as€” the value of the benefit was estimated to be $73.03,€” and rules education was provided to the booster. The Southeastern Conference also didn't allow the booster to attend Ole Miss' first two SEC home men's basketball games.

The booster (for doing a nice thing for somebody) had to miss the Northwestern State and Georgia Southern games. I'm sure the lesson was learned.

Violation occurred: 11/4/2015
Sport: Women's track (outdoor)
Violation type: Recruiting
Summary: An assistant track coach inadvertently responded to a text message from a high school senior who scheduled to make an official visit the next day. The coach didn't have the number saved in his phone, causing him to be unsure who he was communicating with.
Institutional action: Ole Miss kept the coaching staff from sending any recruiting correspondence and from calling any recruits for one week (Nov. 29 - Dec. 5).

CROOT: [Text message of some sort]

COACH: "Hello. Who is this? I don't have this number saved in my phone."

CROOT: "Actually it's..."


Violation occurred: 11/5/2015
Sport: Volleyball
Violation type: Recruiting
Summary: A recruit made an official visit in September with her family, but they arrived Nov. 5, one day before the visit was scheduled to begin. Ole Miss paid for the lodging of the recruit and her parents, causing the official visit to begin then and leading her official visit to surpass the 48-hour limitation.
Institutional action: Ole Miss forced the recruit to pay the value of the lodging, $109, to a charity and provided rules education reminders to all of its coaching staffs.

Let's consider the situation here. A high school volleyball player was supposed to come to the Ole Miss campus on an official visit. She and her family arrived on November 5th, a Thursday. We're told that this was too early - the visit was supposed to begin on November 6th. Maybe there was a miscommunication. Maybe she and her family had some work or personal scheduling issues to work around. Maybe they just wanted to spend another day hanging out in Oxford. Whatever it was, they were in town too long for the NCAA's liking, so it's a violation.

So not only are NCAA rules terribly nitpicky and petty; they're also unreasonably inflexible.

Violation occurred: 11/12/2015
Sport: Men's and women's cross country
Violation type: Awards and benefits
Summary: Multiple runners received an extra $10 in meal per diem while at the NCAA south regional cross country meet because the meal rate for Birmingham was used instead of Tuscaloosa. Alabama was hosting the meet.
Institutional action: Each affected athlete donated $10 to a nonprofit organization.

How in the hell is Birmingham's per diem an entire Hamilton more than that of Tuscaloosa's? Is the Five Guys in Homewood somehow better than the...

/Googles it

...Five Guys in some dumb strip mall off of the interstate?

Violation occurred: 11/21/2015
Sport: Football
Violation type: Recruiting
Summary: A recruit visiting Ole Miss took a picture with a former Ole Miss football player and had "limited, unplanned" contact with the former player.
Institutional action: The compliance department provided rules education to coaches.

Death penalty imo