Loaner vehicle reportedly at heart of Ole Miss’ Laremy Tunsil’s lengthening sabbatical

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It appears Ole Miss will continue without one of the top offensive tackles in college football for the foreseeable future.

Following an altercation between Laremy Tunsil and his stepfather this past June, the latter accused the former of an improper relationship with a sports agent. While it’s permissible for college players to talk to agents, it’s against NCAA bylaws for the player to accept anything of value from the agent.

The accusations, though, triggered an extension of what had already been a three-year NCAA investigation into, in part, the Rebels football program.  Tunsil has been held out of Ole Miss’ first two games because of the allegations, and could miss a handful more as new information has surfaced as a result of the NCAA probe.

From ESPN.com‘s Chris Low:

Sources told ESPN.com that the sticking point is a loaner vehicle Tunsil received from Cannon Motors in Oxford, Mississippi, while his car was in the repair shop. Tunsil allegedly kept that loaner vehicle for an extended period of time before returning it to the dealership, and the NCAA has deemed it an extra benefit.

The school’s athletic director, Ross Bjork, said in a statement that “[t]he matters involving Laremy Tunsil aren’t related to anybody on our football staff, Coach [Hugh] Freeze or any of the assistants,” adding that while the university wants “to protect the young man and are doing everything we can to do that… we also have to and need to and should protect our staff and our program.”

It’s believed that, based on previous precedents, Tunsil could be forced to sit out at least the next two games. Such a development would mean the lineman will miss the SEC opener on the road against second-ranked Alabama this coming Saturday as well as the conference home opener the following week against Vanderbilt.

It’s also believed that, prior to the Tunsil situation, most if not all of the issues being investigated by the NCAA as it relates to the Rebels football program took place during Houston Nutt‘s time as head coach in Oxford (2008-11).