Ole Miss finally received the verdict from the NCAA Committee on Infractions; it included an additional bowl ban, a ruling chancellor Jeff Vitter said the school would “vigorously” fight.
The ban could be lifted, but the program’s problems have continued to mount from a public relations standpoint. Yahoo! Sports noted that some current Rebel players who wished to possibly transfer had retained the services of Thomas Mars, an Arkansas-based attorney — the same Thomas Mars who represented former Rebels coach Houston Nutt in his quest for an apology from Ole Miss months ago.
Ole Miss has lifted its restrictions on current players’ ability to transfer and to what schools. But, frankly, retaining counsel simply in order to transfer reeks of ulterior motives. Per Ole Miss, a player must request permission to speak to other schools. It requires only limited paperwork, and why the players are seeking said counsel is a story in and of itself.
Ole Miss officials reached out to GN and noted that the players who are having the transfer restrictions removed are only the players noted in the article. There’s not an open market for transfers, and any school reaching out to players that hasn’t gone through the proper protocols is committing an NCAA violation.
Rebels fans are at a critical point. They’ve seen their share of ups and downs over the years, and what they want now is transparency and advocacy. Fans want someone to stand up to the NCAA, to Thomas Mars and to any other person standing in the way of the success of the football program.
Ole Miss needs to establish a perimeter, as it were, and draw close those who are with the Rebels. Pound the lectern, demand answers and assure your fan base – a fan base as passionate and loyal as any – that you will stand for Ole Miss despite daggers being thrown at the program from all directions.
It’s time to fully support coach Matt Luke. It’s time to start giving fans a reason to smile again.
The school has been on the defensive for five years. The NCAA case is over, and Ole Miss must put an end to the negative energy surrounding the program.
Ole Miss once stood by the slogan “It’s Time.” That fits now for a program with so much on the line.
(You can follow Brad Logan on Twitter @BradLoganCOTE)
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