September 18, 2020

Ole Miss and the NCAA: Breaking down the Deep State in Indianapolis

“Deep State” describes the permanent bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. who wield enormous power with zero transparency. They’re not elected, and because of archaic civil service rules, Deep-Staters like the IRS’s Lois Lerner and recently demoted Trump-hating FBI investigator Peter Strzok are almost impossible to fire or punish for their abuses of power.
But there’s another Deep State, one that has just orchestrated a huge injustice against Ole Miss and its fans. This Deep State is in Indianapolis, Indiana.
It’s the unaccountable bureaucrat lawyers and investigators who run the NCAA enforcement division. The NCAA does not follow traditional due process, and conducts its investigations and trials in secret—a latter-day Spanish Inquisition.
One of the NCAA’s primary Torquemadas is NCAA “investigator” Mike Sheridan, who clearly has personal animus against Ole Miss. Sheridan is to the NCAA Ole Miss investigations what discredited FBI agent Peter Strzok is to the many 2016 presidential election probes.
Sheridan’s underhanded attempt to ruin Ole Miss superstar receiver Donte Moncrief’s final college season and pro career is told in a remarkably unsettling July 26, 2017 article in SB Nation by Steven Godfrey.
Godfrey reports that in September 2013, NCAA’s Mike Sheridan, exhibiting tone-deaf bigotry, saw a photo of Donte Moncrief next to his older brother Spencer’s car, a used 2009 Dodge Charger. Sheridan immediately launched an investigation and notified Ole Miss that Moncrief would not be eligible to play the following week against, you guessed it, Alabama, because of Donte’s receipt of “impermissible benefits.”
Spencer Moncrief, a USM graduate with a good paying, steady job, had four days to prove he bought his own car, or else his brother’s senior season and his pro career was in jeopardy. Jackson superlawyer Jesse Mitchell uncovered a serious misdeed by Sheridan—misrepresenting himself by omission to a Gulfport hotel clerk to get records of Spencer’s travel. The clerk said in an affidavit later that he never would have given Sheridan the records if Sheridan had told the truth about who he was.
There’s more to the NCAA Deep State.
Just as the D.C. Deep State applied a different standard in the Clinton “special” investigation than it has in the Trump/Russia inquiry, the NCAA applied a double standard to MSU linebacker Leo Lewis’s various statements. They believed everything he said against Ole Miss, but said he lacked credibility when he said he got $10,000 in cash from MSU.
It’s not a stretch to figure out why NCAA chose to believe Leo Lewis’s damaging testimony against Ole Miss, but not against MSU. Xavier Athletic Director Greg Christopher, as of September 1, is the newly appointed chair of the NCAA Committee On Infractions (COI). It’s been reported that when Christopher was A.D. at Bowling Green in 2007, Dan Mullen was on his short list for BG’s next head coach, and that the two have maintained a friendly relationship since that time.
Moreover, SEC Commissioner and outgoing chair of NCAA’s COI, Greg Sankey, recused himself from the Ole Miss matter and says he had nothing to do with the grant of immunity to Leo Lewis. Regardless of the recusal, the NCAA investigators no doubt knew where Sankey’s allegiance lay.
Sankey attends football games in Starkville. He sheepishly admitted ringing a cowbell when his daughter graduated from MSU in 2015. He was the keynote speaker in Starkville for MSU’s fall graduation ceremony in December 2016. It’s fair to conclude Sankey is a MSU fan.
This past week Michigan’s jet landed at the Oxford airport. Word is that a half-dozen rising seniors and other current Ole Miss players were being poached by khaki-boy Jim Harbaugh, once again demonstrating how little class he has.
And speaking of having little class, it was difficult to read this past week about OM’s disgraced coach, hypocrite-for-the-ages Hugh Freeze, being so excited about interviewing to get back into college coaching. Freeze is primarily responsible for this mess, but the NCAA’s ruling left him virtually unscathed.
What if the NCAA appeals process, which hopefully is not as corrupt as their enforcement procedures, overturns the second year bowl band? Well, the NCAA says the appellate process takes four to six months, conveniently long enough for the November 30 decision to do its damage. Once again, the NCAA uses delay to inflict further harm on Ole Miss.
To paraphrase Ray Donovan, former Reagan Secretary of Labor who was vilified in the press as a fraud but later acquitted by a jury: Even if the sanctions are reduced, where does Ole Miss go to get its reputation back?
Not to mention its players.