Ole Miss Rebels offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil, who has not played at all this season as the NCAA looked into alleged improper benefits received by him, will return to the field for next weekend’s game against Texas A&M in Oxford.
Per an official statement from the university, the NCAA has suspended Tunsil for seven games, crediting him for time served. He will sit out Ole Miss’ game against Memphis on Saturday. In terms of finding, the statement reported the following:
“During the course of the process, it was determined by the NCAA that Tunsil received impermissible extra benefits that included the use of three separate loaner vehicles over a sixth-month period without payment, a four-month interest-free promissory note on a $3,000 down payment for purchasing a used vehicle, two nights of lodging at a local home, an airline ticket purchased by a friend of a teammate, and one day use of a rental vehicle. In addition, it was determined that Tunsil was not completely forthcoming when initially questioned by NCAA investigators regarding the loaner vehicles. He later corrected his account and since apologized. “
“As part of his reinstatement conditions, the NCAA imposed a seven-game suspension, ordered Tunsil to pay the value of the extra benefits to a charity, perform community service, and he will also make the vehicle down payment.”
Tunsil also offered a statement of his own, in which he was quite apologetic:
“I take full responsibility for the mistakes I made and want to thank everyone for their continued support. I want to apologize to my teammates, coaches and the entire Ole Miss family for how my choices affected our program. This was a learning experience, and I’m looking forward to being back on the field with my team and redeeming myself. The last 10 months have been a physical and mental battle for me, but I love playing this game more than anything else. I want to be here for my teammates who are depending on me to finish what we started together.”
“We have been supportive of Laremy throughout this process,” coach Hugh Freeze said in a statement, “and we are thankful he can return to competition starting with the Texas A&M game. More important than his football ability is his character, and I am confident that Laremy will grow from this experience and continue to be a positive member of the University and our football team.”
A former five-star recruit out of Columbia High School, in northern Florida, Tunsil is widely regarded as the best offensive lineman in the 2016 NFL draft class. That said, here’s hoping that he isn’t too rusty once he steps back on the field and that his prospects on the professional level remain high.
Ole Miss and Memphis are set to kick off in Memphis at 12 p.m. ET on ABC.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports