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Leo Lewis must appear at the Ole Miss COI Hearing, so what does it mean?

SB Nation’s own Steven Godfrey is reporting Leo Lewis will have to appear at the COI hearing. Here’s what it means and what it doesn’t mean.


Remember when Ethan told us the Egg Bowl was going to keep getting weirder? Well that didn’t take long.

Steven Godfrey of our very own SB Nation is reporting Leo Lewis will be requested to appear before the Committee on Infractions when they meet to decide the penalties to levy against the Ole Miss football program. So is this really bad news for Leo Lewis and the Mississippi State Bulldogs?

Probably not.

Don’t get me wrong, I would rather not have Leo Lewis appear before the NCAA for any reason, and I can’t imagine any college coach would want such a thing to happen. This is why I have never bought into the “Dan Mullen arranged for this to happen” conspiracy theories. Yes, Leo Lewis was granted limited immunity, but the idea of a player for Mississippi State testifying before the NCAA is not something that makes me happy.

However, for the Ole Miss fans you know who are taking victory laps over this, they might want to slow down just a bit. If you read Godfrey’s report, it is very clear this is not going to be an opportunity for the Ole Miss lawyers to cross examine Leo Lewis. The sophomore linebacker will only be asked questions by the committees. Ole Miss wants to interrogate him, but there is nothing in the report to suggest they will be able to. As a matter of fact, quite the opposite is stated in the report from Steven Godfrey.

Lewis could appear at the COI, answer a few questions, and be on his way, eligibility intact. And lawyers involved in the case expect that Lewis will field questions only from members of the committee and not from lawyers representing Ole Miss coaches or the University of Mississippi. In other words, don’t expect a Law & Order third act.

So why not break this down into worst case, best case, and most likely scenarios? This will help give us an idea of how this whole thing plays out.

Worst Case Scenario

Leo Lewis appears before the Committee on Infractions and completely recants his entire story from the three appearances he has already made. Limited immunity is stripped from Lewis and things get hairy really quickly.

This likely won’t happen because there is no real reason to do that. He will not be interviewed by anyone outside the COI, and his lawyer will have him well prepared to answer any and all questions Lewis might be asked. I only include it because stupid things happen, kinda like a coach employed by the State of Mississippi using his university issued cell phone to call an escort service.

Best Case Scenario

The best case scenario would see Leo Lewis answer questions about his testimony verbatim from what he had already said. There would be no inconsistencies whatsoever from what was said 8-9 months ago.

This likely won’t happen. It’s not because Leo Lewis is a Liar McLiarface, but because he’s a human. I’ll explain more of what I mean in the Most Likely Scenario.

Most Likely Scenario

The most likely outcome to Leo Lewis appearing before the COI is this. He’ll be asked some questions by the committee, and he will say some things the same and some things will be different. The committee will ask Lewis about things that are different, but nothing that is revealed will be a smoking gun to kill the case against Ole Miss.

Now, why will anything that might be viewed as an inconsistency not be considered a big deal? For the simple reason the human brain isn’t perfect and there is no way for anyone to remember every detail about events that happen in their lives.

The events to which Leo Lewis testified about with the promise of limited immunity all took place in 2014 and early 2015. He was not questioned about these events until almost a year later after the events had transpired. Leo Lewis will not be able to remember all the details every time he is asked about them, and it won’t matter that much when he mixes different things up.

Let me relate this to a personal incident. My wife was rear ended by a driver who did not brake at all. She’s lucky she walked away from the accident with no major injuries, but she did have some. The insurance company of the other driver did not want to pay any damages, so we had to pursue legal action. Not what we wanted, but we also didn’t want to be saddled with doctor bills that were the result of another driver’s carelessness.

When depositions were heard, our lawyer asked about details surrounding the accident. The accident occurred in February of 2013. The deposition took place in January 2015, almost two full years later. When our lawyer asked about the color of the vehicle my wife drove, she said it was definitely not white (it was white). The defendant also said it hadn’t been raining that day (pictures showed puddles of water all over the place).

Now, at no point during the deposition did my lawyer stand up and declare victory because the defendant couldn’t remember some of the details of the incident. He was simply trying to show she couldn’t remember things very well. We were able to get a small settlement not because she didn’t think the vehicle my wife drove wasn’t white when it was, but because the facts of the case supported our claim.

So when you hear Leo Lewis had some discrepancies in his testimony the committee asked him about, it won’t be any real reason for alarm. Yes, there will be people who try to make it out to be a really big deal, but unless his entire story changes, then Leo Lewis having to appear before the COI is just all part of the process.