Ole Miss Athletic Director Ross Bjork sought to reassure “anxious” fans and alumni in a statement this afternoon about the well-being of the school’s football program.
Ole Miss took a hard hit on Friday when the NCAA imposed sanctions in addition to the school’s own self-imposed punishment for recruiting violations. Due to a 2018 bowl ban, rising seniors on the Ole Miss team can transfer to another school without losing a year of eligibility, and several players, including quarterback Shea Patterson, have expressed interest in doing exactly that.
As of yesterday, UM lifted restrictions on other non-senior players who want to consider transferring to other schools. And Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh was seen in Oxford yesterday, reportedly attempting to lure Patterson and safety Deontay Anderson to the Wolverine campus.
Bjork’s statement to the “Ole Miss family” reads:
“Between the NCAA Committee on Infractions decision last week and some recent news regarding a handful of current players, Coach Luke and I know the Ole Miss family is anxious. We can assure you that we are being proactive with each player and their families, and we are communicating with them on a daily basis. Our focus is on their well-being while also making sure that we protect the present and future of our program. The Ole Miss Football program is bigger than one person, and we want our players to know that they can, and will be part of something special.
“Furthermore, we will not allow outside influences to define who we are, and we will use every avenue available to hold those accountable who tamper with our student-athletes. Our great University has been through a lot over the past few years, and we are focused on building upon the strong foundation that is already in place. Because of this strong foundation, we know we can compete at the highest level, and we are working every day to earn the confidence and support of Rebel Nation.”
Rick Hynum is editor-in-chief of HottyToddy.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.