When will the NCAA release its ruling on the Ole Miss football investigation?

Published 10:52 am Saturday, November 11, 2017

University of Mississippi Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter and Vice Chancellor for Intercollegiate Athletics Ross Bjork speak at a press conference concerning former head coach Hugh Freeze, at the Pavilion at Ole Miss, in Oxford, Miss. on Thursday, July 20, 2017. Freeze has resigned his position effective immediately. Assistant head coach Matt Luke has been named Interim head coach. (Bruce Newman, The Oxford Eagle)

The NCAA’s final ruling on a years-long investigation involving the Ole Miss football program will be released soon, but until it is, the Rebels remain in purgatory. Will they face a bowl ban beyond what Ole Miss has already self-imposed? Who Ole Miss can land as their head coach, who they can bring in their next recruiting class and who will make up the roster next year all depends on the NCAA’s verdict.
Because of this, the fan base has been understandably eager to get a response and know what kind of odds the football program will face in its attempted rebuild, and rumors have been flying around for weeks.
It can be hard to sort through the misinformation, but one rumor floating around is that Ole Miss received the NCAA’s verdict a week ago, and is waiting to release it at a later date. This is unequivocally false. The Committee on Infractions (COI) makes it very clear that in their operating procedures that the verdict will not leave the panel that judges the individual case until shortly before it is released to the public in a report.

“Approximately 24 hours prior to the public release of the infractions decision, the full COI will have access to the final public infractions decision. Only COI members who do not have a conflict of interest will be provided access to the final public infractions decision. COI members who are recused from the case due to a conflict of interest will not be provided access to the public infractions decision until the decision is made available to the public.”

If Ole Miss officials are notified that the NCAA has made a decision or what that decision entails, it will be no earlier than 24 hours before the NCAA releases their report. The Committee on Infractions outside of the presiding panel for the case doesn’t even hear the verdict until then, so there is no way Ole Miss will learn the verdict before them. Other schools that have recently had NCAA cases did not share the verdict themselves, rather the NCAA’s report did, so there’s a good chance that Ole Miss does not even break the news.
Another rumor going around is that the NCAA’s final decision could come any day now. While this is definitely true, it could easily be a few weeks away as well.
The timetable for the NCAA’s decision is complicated, because on the page that details their enforcement process, it says that the COI’s panel will typically release their report six to eight weeks after a hearing. On the same page, it also says that the report will be released eight to 12 weeks after a hearing.
Looking at recent NCAA cases, North Carolina and Louisville both had their reports released around eight weeks after the hearing, but Rutgers’ case took 11 weeks.
It was eight weeks after the hearing on Friday, so Ole Miss’ verdict could be released any time from in the next four weeks. However, don’t be surprised if it takes longer than the average case, as the Rebel Rags lawsuit complicates things. Since the lawsuit is still ongoing and directly in response to claims that were made to the NCAA during their investigation, the COI’s response has to be carefully worded as to not interfere with the it.
The NCAA could send Ole Miss their decision today, tomorrow, or even a week or a month from now. We’ll just have to wait and see.

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