by Matt Jennings
Big penalties are likely on the way for Ole Miss, but the Rebels have already felt the financial impact of the NCAA’s investigation into the football program.
Ole Miss received an NCAA notice of allegations this week detailing numerous violations, many of them concerning impermissible benefits to players or recruits. The investigation has been going on for years. And as SB Nation’s Morgan Moriarty noted Friday, the process has now officially cost the school at least $9.4 million.
The biggest financial blow was imposed by the school itself. The Rebels self-imposed a postseason ban this week, which requires them to forfeit their share of SEC postseason revenue. According to the school’s official statement on the NCAA allegations, that revenue is projected to be $7.8 million in 2017.
Ole Miss previously also self-imposed a penalty of $159,352 last year after a previous notice of allegations.
The school had already expected to spend $1.5 million in legal fees over the course of the investigation, according to The Clarion-Ledger’s Daniel Paulling. That number could go up given the school and head coach Hugh Freeze intend to fight some of the charges, including lack of institutional control and violating head coach responsibility legislation.
That total of more than $9.4 million doesn’t account for more potential losses in the future either.
The cost of litigation will almost certainly go up. The NCAA could impose a multi-year postseason ban, which would make the school forfeit more conference revenue. And if the Rebels lose scholarships and players transfer out of the program, booster donations and revenue from ticket sales will almost certainly decline the same way the team’s performance on the field will.
Ole Miss is already trying to sustain a program in one of the poorest states in the U.S. So the financial drain of this investigation hurts a lot. And it’s probably not over.