On October 4, 2014, the 11th-ranked Ole Miss Rebels hosted the 3rd-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide in Oxford, Mississippi. Head coach Hugh Freeze and the Rebels would rally from a 14-3 halftime deficit to defeat Nick Saban’s team by the final score of 23-17. Fans stormed the field, the goalposts were torn down and carried around town, and Ole Miss would climb to No. 3 in the AP Poll the following week, their highest mark since 1964.
Well, after finally receiving the final sanctions from Ole Miss’ ugly NCAA scandal involving former players and coaches, including Houston Nutt and Hugh Freeze, that massive Alabama win, as well 32 others between 2010 and 2016, apparently never happened and have been vacated by the NCAA, according to Rebel Grove.
The Ole Miss scandal involved multiple allegations that included recruits receiving thousands of dollars from University of Mississippi football boosters, getting free merchandise from Rebel Rags, assistant coaches fixing ACT scores to help football recruits become eligible, as well as several others that led to the NCAA dropping the hammer on the program. Ole Miss received a two-year postseason ban, scholarship reductions, NCAA-led probation over four years, and financial penalties totaling $179,000.
The final measure by the NCAA was to vacate football wins from the school. All wins from 2010 to 2012, plus all five wins from 2016 have been erased. The Rebels lose every win from 2013 except for their Music City Bowl victory, and they lose every win from 2014 except for a win over Presbyterian.
“It’s the last part of this process,” Ole Miss Athletic Director Ross Bjork said at a town hall meeting on Monday night. “In a way it’s just a piece of paper because you saw those games.”
Ole Miss’ 10-3 campaign 2015 in which they won the Sugar Bowl was left untouched because Laremy Tunsil, one of the players named in the scandal, sat out seven games that year.
Ole Miss’ Vacated Wins
2010: Tulane, Fresno State, Kentucky, ULL
2011: Southern Illinois, Fresno State
2012: Central Arkansas, UTEP, Auburn, Tulane, Arkansas, Mississippi State, Pittsburgh
2013: Vanderbilt, Southeast Missouri, LSU, Texas, Idaho, Arkansas, Troy
2014: Boise State, Vanderbilt, ULL, Memphis, Alabama, Texas A&M, Mississippi State, Tennessee
2016: Wofford, Georgia, Memphis, Georgia Southern, Texas A&M
The NCAA’s weakest and dumbest weapon is vacating games. Sure, on paper in the NCAA record books, Ole Miss never won these 33 games over a seven-year span. All we have left are stories of a time long ago when Ole Miss (apparently) upset Alabama, though no NCAA record will ever be found to prove that happened.
Then again, the NCAA is never going to erase an incredible moment like this from Ole Miss football history: