Ole Miss reports secondary violations to NCAA
OXFORD, Miss. -- Mississippi has reported four violations, which are deemed secondary by the NCAA and carry minimal penalties, including one involving former Ole Miss running back Deuce McAllister.
The violations were during a two-month span, according to documents obtained Wednesday by The Clarion-Ledger. They took place between Oct. 30 and Dec. 3 and involved eight members of Mississippi's 2006 signing class.
The most notable occurred on Dec. 2, when McAllister, the New Orleans Saints running back, attended the Class 5A playoff game between Oak Grove and Meridian as the guest of Meridian assistant principal Sherrod Miller.
In a report to the Southeastern Conference and NCAA, Ole Miss said McAllister made impermissible contact with Meridian players during the game.
The university initially declared all of Meridian's players ineligible to compete at Ole Miss, including Rebel signees Cordera Eason and Derrick Davis. Ole Miss also reduced its number of off-campus, in-person contacts with Meridian High prospects by two.
The SEC approved Ole Miss' self-imposed penalties and the players' eligibility was restored by the NCAA on Jan. 31, according to the documents.
In its report, Ole Miss said McAllister was permitted to stand on the Meridian sidelines to "avoid creating a distraction in the stands." As the teams returned to the field, he was approached by several players and wished them "good luck," the report said.
McAllister said two weeks ago he spoke with Ole Miss compliance director David Wells. McAllister denied any wrongdoing and said he wrote a letter to the SEC explaining what took place.
"There was nothing else I could do," McAllister said Wednesday. "I said, 'Hello.' I'm not going to change who I am because some people think that I'm recruiting for a school."
The other violations reported by Ole Miss included tight ends coach Hugh Freeze, who at the time was director of football operations and did not have recruiting responsibilities. Freeze participated in telephone calls with four Memphis-area prospects between Oct. 30 and Nov. 13.
Among Ole Miss' self-imposed penalties was a two-week ban on calling Memphis-area prospects.
"We felt like these were routine issues and we're going to report secondary violations when we find them," said Wells.
"If there is a significant pattern that develops, the NCAA has the right to look at it as a major issue," Ole Miss athletic director Pete Boone said. "But that's not what they've done here. It's just one of those things you just always have to have your antennas up."
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press