Hugh Freeze releases statement in response to NCAA ruling on Ole Miss

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Ole Miss has a handful of attractive seniors on its roster.

Hours after the NCAA handed down to Ole Miss the final penalties in an investigation in the football program, the fired coach in the middle of it all, Hugh Freeze released a statement.

Because Ole Miss is bowl-banned for 2018, players entering their last year of eligibility are allowed to transfer from the program without sitting out a year in "academic residence".

In the latest development in the more than five-year ongoing case, the Committee on Infractions Friday came down fairly hard on Ole Miss.

The NCAA will officially announce its sanctions later Friday, but reports from SBNation and ESPN note that the school will receive four years probation, a two-year total bowl ban (one additional year from what has already been self-imposed) and see a reduction of 13 additional scholarships over three years on top of the 11 over four years that Ole Miss self-imposed.

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The Committee on Infractions said the case was similar to other Ole Miss rules violations cases in 1986 and 1994 and that the school had an "unconstrained booster culture".

Six football staff members and 12 boosters were involved in the violations, which included providing $37,000 to prospects through cash payments, use of automobiles, lodging, transportation, meals and apparel.

Further, he maintains that he hopes to be a head coach again "as soon as possible" and makes sure to emphasize the fact that his penalties do not prevent him from being an assistant coach right away. The Rebels got a new bowl ban, financial penalties, a loss of scholarships and individuals have also been penalized.

In addition to Freeze, former Ole Miss assistant Chris Kiffin, now defensive coordinator at Florida Atlanta, received a two-year show-cause order. Ole Miss must also vacate wins that ineligible athletes participated in, which could take some time to sort out. The school said the resignation was not in relation to the NCAA case. That won't be easy considering the additional postseason ban for the 2018 season. School officials removed the interim tag from head coach Matt Luke after his team's victory over their in-state rivals, but now faces an increasingly long road toward getting the Rebels back to national respectability.

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