DAVID BRANDT, AP Sports Writer
Mississippi will investigate former offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil’s comments that he accepted money from a member of the football staff while playing at the school.
The university said in a statement Friday it is “aware of the reports from the NFL Draft regarding Laremy Tunsil and potential NCAA violations during his time at Ole Miss” and “will aggressively investigate and fully cooperate with the NCAA and the SEC.”
After Tunsil was selected 13th overall Thursday night in the NFL draft by the Miami Dolphins, he initially denied taking money while at Ole Miss.
The question arose after a post on his Instagram showed an alleged text message exchange between the offensive lineman and an Ole Miss football staff member that included Tunsil’s request for money for bills.
When Tunsil was pressed about whether he took money, he said, “I’d have to say yeah.”
Ole Miss is currently under NCAA investigation and received a Notice of Allegations from the governing body in January regarding violations in football, women’s basketball and track and field.
Now that Tunsil has acknowledged taking money while at Ole Miss after he was drafted by the Miami Dolphins, it’s unclear how the NCAA will handle the new information. The NCAA could delay the current case while it and Ole Miss conduct investigations, or the governing body could start a new case against the university.
NCAA spokeswoman Emily James said Friday morning in an email response to The Associated Press that the NCAA does not “comment on current, pending or potential investigations.”
The university has not disclosed what the violations the NCAA said it has committed, but Tunsil was suspended seven games last season after the NCAA ruled he received several illegal benefits, including the use of three loaner cars.
The current case recently received a 30-day extension and a response from Ole Miss is due in late May.
North Carolina’s current NCAA case tied to its long-running academic fraud scandal was delayed eight months when the school reported additional information for the NCAA to review.
Tunsil became the story of the draft after he said his social media accounts were hacked and incidents of his troubled past became public minutes before the first round began, including a video of him smoking from a gas mask-bong contraption.
The seemingly coordinated cyber-attack potentially cost Tunsil millions because of the draft night slide. It could also have lingering effects for an Ole Miss football program.
The 6-foot-5, 310-pounder, who started at left tackle for the Rebels over the past three seasons, is expected to be introduced to Dolphins fans in Florida on Friday.
Tunsil’s troubles cast a dark cloud on a historic night for Ole Miss; it was the first time the school had three players selected in the first round of the draft. Receiver Laquon Treadwell was selected by the Minnesota Vikings at No. 23 and defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche went to the Arizona Cardinals at No. 29.
AP Sports Writer Aaron Beard contributed to this story.
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