COVINGTON, Ky. – In what is believed to be a first in NCAA compliance history, an active student-athlete appeared at a Committee on Infractions hearing Monday.
Mississippi State linebacker Leo Lewis made an appearance and gave testimony to the committee as part of Mississippi’s hearing to answer for 21 alleged NCAA violations, multiple sources told Yahoo Sports. Lewis was not seen publicly either entering or exiting the ballroom at the Embassy Suites here, site of the hearing, but sources confirmed that he did appear.
Lewis is a significant part of the case, having alleged that an Ole Miss booster paid him $10,000 to sign with the Rebels. Lewis ultimately chose not to and signed with rival Mississippi State instead.
Ole Miss is disputing that charge from the NCAA. Another booster alleged to have provided apparel to Lewis and fellow Mississippi State player Kobe Jones is suing both of them for defamation. Lewis’ involvement in the case – leading to his appearance here – has further heightened tensions between Mississippi and Mississippi State.
The Committee on Infractions met from 8:30 a.m. ET until nearly 6 Monday, a long session with more to come. Another session is scheduled for Tuesday, and a third could take place Wednesday as well. Armed security stood at the entrance to the meeting room throughout the day. Neither Ole Miss nor NCAA officials commented after the session was completed.
In addition to Lewis, among those in attendance were former Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze, who resigned under pressure this summer; former staffer Barney Farrar; current Ole Miss interim coach Matt Luke; athletic director Ross Bjork; and school president Jeffrey Vitter. Freeze and Farrar both are charged with Level One violations, the most severe in the NCAA hierarchy of allegations.
Greg Christopher, the athletic director at nearby Xavier, is chairing the Committee on Infractions for this case.