Monday marked the beginning of Ole Miss’s hearing before the NCAA Committee on Infractions, a hearing centered on a number of violations alleged to have occurred within the Rebels football program during Hugh Freeze’s tenure as head coach.
But another subject of the hearing is current Mississippi State linebacker Leo Lewis, who has claimed that he received more than $20,000 during his recruitment from multiple SEC schools.
Steven Godfrey, covering the entire Ole Miss saga for SB Nation, reported Monday that Greg Christopher, COI chair and Xavier University athletic director, twice denied requests from parties who wanted to either attend the meeting or obtain documents related to the investigation. One of those parties, Godfrey reported, was Mississippi State.
According to the report, because Lewis is expected to appear at the hearing in Covington, Ky., Mississippi State requested it be allowed to send officials with him “as observers to guard the interests of one of its student-athletes who will attend the hearing.”
Mississippi State made that request on Aug. 16, but Christopher reportedly declined the request and instead stated that the representatives from the SEC would be allowed to attend “to support the student athlete.”
According to Godfrey, Christopher also denied a request from representatives of a variety of parties in the hearing — Freeze, former Ole Miss defensive line coach and current Florida Atlantic defensive coordinator Chris Kiffin, and the university itself — that sought “access to materials related to a NCAA investigation into claims by Mississippi State linebacker Leo Lewis that he received cash payments from boosters for MSU.”
With the hearing getting underway this week, here’s a list of some of the prominent people who will be or are expected to be present at the hearing, which could go on for many days.
● Ole Miss interim head coach Matt Luke
● Ole Miss tight ends coach Maurice Harris
● Ole Miss running backs coach Derrick Nix (Harris and Nix are named in allegations. Luke is not but must attend as acting head coach of the program)
● Former Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze
● Former Ole Miss staff member Barney Farrar
● Former Ole Miss defensive line coach and current Florida Atlantic defensive coordinator Chris Kiffin
● Mississippi State linebacker Leo Lewis
All three teams have games on Saturday.
More updates to come on SEC Country as the hearing continues throughout the week.